Design of novel adsorption processes for the removal of arsenic from polluted groundwater employing functionalized magnetic nanoparticles
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For many developing countries, groundwater is the main source for water consumption in rural and urban areas. The occurrence of arsenic in groundwater is an environmental problem due to its high toxicity. Although the removal of arsenic by different technologies has been proven, adsorption is one of the best alternatives due to its simplicity and low cost. In particular, nanoadsorbents incorporating magnetic properties are promising separation agents because of their advantageous and efficient potential recovery in a magnetic field, characteristic that is very attractive and of utmost relevance in the development of low cost technologies to provide drinking water in developing countries. In this work, Fe3O4 and Fe3O4/SiO2 magnetic nanoparticles functionalized by amino derivatives coordinated with Fe3+ were synthesized and characterized and further evaluated as adsorbents to remove arsenate from groundwater. The adsorption equilibrium of As5+ was satisfactorily described at 298 K by the Langmuir model with the following parameters: a) Fe3O4: qm=20.4±0.3 mg g-1 and KL=0.373±0.003 L mg-1 and b) Fe3O4/SiO2: qm=121±4.1 mg g-1 and KL=0.383±0.066 L mg-1. At low arsenate concentrations, 50-1000 µg L-1, the adsorption equilibrium As5+-Fe3O4/SiO2 was described by linear isotherms with equilibrium parameters KH=278.8 L g-1 in monocomponent systems and KH=1.80 L g-1 in the presence of competing ions, being carbonate and especially phosphate the main species affecting the process with contributions to the loss of efficacy around 70%. Finally, the material reuse after regeneration with NaOH 10-3 mol L-1 d was assessed under several composition scenarios reaching adsorption yields similar to those obtained with fresh materials.