Electrospun chitosan-based nanofibres for removal of phenols from drinking water

  • Lebea N Nthunya 1. Department of Applied Chemistry and the DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre-Water Research Node, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 17011, Doornfontein, 2028, Johannesburg, South Africa; 2. Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability Research Unit, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Florida, 1709, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Monaheng L Masheane 1. Department of Applied Chemistry and the DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre-Water Research Node, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 17011, Doornfontein, 2028, Johannesburg, South Africa; 2. Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability Research Unit, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Florida, 1709, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Soraya P Malinga Department of Applied Chemistry and the DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre-Water Research Node, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 17011, Doornfontein, 2028, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Edward N Nxumalo Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability Research Unit, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Florida, 1709, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Sabelo D Mhlanga Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability Research Unit, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Florida, 1709, Johannesburg, South Africa
Keywords: 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol, adsorption, chitosan nanofibres, the degree of cross-linking, removal efficiency

Abstract

Chitosan-based nanofibres were synthesized using a fibre electrospinning technique and tested for the removal of 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol from aqueous solutions. The downside of chitosan-based materials is swelling. In this study, it was found that the addition of polyisoprene not only improved the electrospinning ability of chitosan but also reduced the swelling of the nanofibres by 50%. The adsorption studies of 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol on the chitosan-based nanofibres were conducted in a batch process. The nanofibres were found to remove up to 90% of 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol with an adsorption reduction capacity of 12% at each cycle of reusability test. The reduction capacity was associated with the chemical interaction of the adsorbate and the adsorbent. This indicated that the nanofibres can effectively remove 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol from water for at least 3 cycles. The adsorption efficiency improved as the degree of cross-linking was reduced and the adsorption mechanism followed the Freundlich isotherm suggesting that the adsorption of 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol occurred in different layers on the surface of the nanofibres. The degree of crosslinking of the electrospun nanofibres with glutaraldehyde was found to affect the
adsorption capacity. Nanofibres with different degrees of crosslinking were used to study the effect of pH, adsorbent dose, and initial concentration.

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Published
2018-07-31
Section
Research paper