Advance modification of polyacrylonitrile nanofibers for enhanced removal of hexavalent chromium from water


Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a known carcinogenic and mutagenic heavy metal. Its level in drinking water is regulated worldwide to protect public health. This study presents a novel chemical method to modify the polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers for efficient Cr(VI) removal from water. The PAN nanofibers with an average diameter of 165 nm are produced using the electrospinning technique. Through a 2-step chemical modification process, the amidine polyacrylonitrile (APAN) nanofibers are synthesized by the conversion of nitrile groups [-C=N] in PAN nanofibers into amidines [-C(N═NH)(NH2)]. The attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy revealed the successful conversion of nitrile groups into amidoximes, resulting in amidoximated polyacrylonitrile nanofibers, and subsequent conversion into amidine functional groups, forming the APAN nanofibers. Greater concentration of hydroxylamine hydrochloride, increased reaction time and temperature yielded higher conversion of nitrile groups into amidoximes to a maximum of 37%. The Cr(VI) uptake by APAN nanofibers was found as a multilayer adsorption process modeled by Freundlich isotherm. The maximum Langmuir Cr(VI) adsorption capacity for APAN nanofibers was found as 225 mg g−1 at pH = 3.0 after 4.0 h exposure duration. The regeneration study revealed the excellent reusability of APAN nanofibers after five adsorption/desorption cycles.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Polymer Science