A Novel Nanocomposite as an Efficient Adsorbent for the Rapid Adsorption of Ni(II) from Aqueous Solution
A sulfhydryl-lignocellulose/montmorillonite (SLT) nanocomposite was prepared using a chemical intercalation reaction. The SLT nanocomposite was characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), the results demonstrated that an intercalated-exfoliated nanostructure was formed in the SLT nanocomposite. Batch experiments were conducted to optimize parameters such as SLT nanocomposite dosage, the initial concentration of Ni(II), solution pH, temperature, and time. The results indicated that the attractive adsorption capacity reached 1134.08 mg/g with 0.05 g of SLT at an initial concentration of Ni(II) of 700 mg/L, solution pH of 5.5, adsorption temperature of 50 °C, and adsorption time of 40 min, meanwhile, the Ni(II) adsorption capacity significantly decreased with the increase in ionic strength. The pseudo-second order kinetic model could describe the whole adsorption process well, and the isotherm adsorption equilibrium conformed to the Freundlich model. The adsorption mechanism of SLT was also discussed by means of FTIR and Energy-Dispersive X-Ray (EDX). Dramatically, the introduction of sulfhydryl achieves the increased activated functional groups content of SLT nanocomposite, leading to remarkably higher adsorption amount on Ni(II). The desorption capacity of SLT was dependent on parameters such as HNO3 concentration, desorption temperature, and ultrasonic desorption time. The satisfactory desorption capacity and desorption efficiency of 458.21 mg/g and 40.40% were obtained at an HNO3 concentration, desorption temperature, and ultrasonic desorption time of 0.4 mol/L, 40 °C, and 30 min, respectively. The regeneration studies showed that the adsorption capacity of SLT was consistent for four cycles without any appreciable loss and confirmed that the SLT was reusable. Owing to such outstanding features, the novel SLT nanocomposite proved the great potential in adsorption for Ni(II) removal from aqueous solution, and exhibited an extremely significant amount of Ni(II), compared to pristine lignocellulose/montmorillonite and the conventional spent adsorbents.