Understanding the Mechanism for Adsorption of Pb(II) Ions by Cu-BTC Metal–Organic Frameworks

Joanna N. Weyrich, John R. Mason, Ekaterina A. Bazilevskaya, Hongwei Yang

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With the growing population, industrialization, and agriculture, water contamination not only affects people but entire ecosystems. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), because of their large surface area and porosity, show great potential as adsorbents for removing pollutants, such as heavy metals, from contaminated water. The current research aims at examining copper (II) benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxylate (Cu-BTC) MOFs and understanding the mechanism for their adsorption of Pb(II) from aqueous solution. The Cu-BTC samples were characterized using FTIR and XRD, and their surface area and porosity were determined based on N2 adsorption isotherms. The concentration of Pb(II) in the solutions was measured using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). Both kinetic and equilibrium adsorption data were collected and then analyzed using numerical models. The analyses led to the findings that the limiting steps in the adsorption of Pb(II) on Cu-BTC are (a) pore diffusion of Pb(II) and (b) the availability of the active sites on Cu-BTC MOFs. It was further revealed that the former step is more dominant in the adsorption of Pb(II) when the lead concentration is low. The latter step, which is directly proportional to the surface areas of the MOFs, affects the adsorption to a greater extent when the lead concentration is high. The results also show that adsorption of Pb(II) ions on Cu-BTC is mainly a multi-layer heterogeneous process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5443
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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