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Environmental science & technology

Sulfonated graphene nanosheets as a superb adsorbent for various environmental pollutants in water.


PMID 26008607

Abstract

Graphene nanosheets, as a novel nanoadsorbent, can be further modified to optimize the adsorption capability for various pollutants. To overcome the structural limits of graphene (aggregation) and graphene oxide (hydrophilic surface) in water, sulfonated graphene (GS) was prepared by diazotization reaction using sulfanilic acid. It was demonstrated that GS not only recovered a relatively complete sp(2)-hybridized plane with high affinity for aromatic pollutants but also had sulfonic acid groups and partial original oxygen-containing groups that powerfully attracted positively charged pollutants. The saturated adsorption capacities of GS were 400 mg/g for phenanthrene, 906 mg/g for methylene blue and 58 mg/g for Cd(2+), which were much higher than the corresponding values for reduced graphene oxide and graphene oxide. GS as a graphene-based adsorbent exhibits fast adsorption kinetic rate and superior adsorption capacity toward various pollutants, which mainly thanks to the multiple adsorption sites in GS including the conjugate π region sites and the functional group sites. Moreover, the sulfonic acid groups endow GS with the good dispersibility and single or few nanosheets which guarantee the adsorption processes. It is great potential to expose the adsorption sites of graphene nanosheets for pollutants in water by regulating their microstructures, surface properties and water dispersion.

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