In this work, we successfully synthesized novel polymer gel beads based on functionalized iron oxide (Fe3O4), activated charcoal (AC) particles with β-cyclodextrin (CD) and sodium alginate (SA) polymer (Fe3O4/CD/AC/SA), by a simple, reproducible and inexpensive method. These beads proved to be versatile and strong adsorbents with magnetic properties and high adsorption capacity. The composites were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, vibrating sample magnetometry, adsorption at −196 °C, high resolution transmission electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and point of zero charge measurements. Two dyes, two drugs and one metal were used to test the adsorption capability of the prepared polymer nanocomposite. The adsorbent showed good removal efficiencies for the studied pollutants, especially the cationic dyes and the metal, when compared to other low-cost adsorbents. The saturated adsorption capacity of Fe3O4/CD/AC/SA reached 5.882 mg g−1 for methyl violet (MV), 2.283 mg g−1 for brilliant green (BG), 2.551 mg g−1 for norfloxacin (NOX), 3.125 mg g−1 for ciprofloxacin (CPX), 10.10 mg g−1 for copper metal ion (Cu(II)). The adsorption isotherm studies showed that data fitted well with Langmuir and Temkin isotherms models. The kinetic data showed good correlation coefficient with low error function for the pseudo-second order kinetic model. The data analysis was carried out using error and regression coefficient functions for the estimation of best-fitting isotherm and kinetic models, namely: chi-square test (χ2) and sum of the squares of errors (SSE). The activation energy was found to be 47.68 kJ mol−1 for BG, 29.09 kJ mol−1 for MV, 28.93 kJ mol−1 for NOX, 4.53 kJ mol−1 for CPX and 17.08 kJ mol−1 for Cu(II), which represent chemisorption and physisorption behavior of sorbent molecules. The polymer composites can be regenerated and easily separated from aqueous solution without any weight loss. After regeneration, the Fe3O4/CD/AC/SA beads still have good adsorption capacities up to four cycles of desorption and adsorption. The results indicate that the polymer gel beads are promising adsorbents for the removal of different categories of toxicants (like dyes, drugs and metal) in single adsorbate aqueous systems. Thus, the novel Fe3O4/CD/AC/SA beads can be effectively employed for a large-scale applications as environmentally compatible materials for the adsorption of different categories of pollutants.
- Polymer nanocomposites
- Regeneration studies