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Organic and inorganic acids-functionalized CNTs for the adsorption of Cu2+ and Ni2+ ions from aqueous solution

Maheen Gull, Shahzad Hussain, Ayesha Tariq, Zubaah Khalid, Fozia Bibi, and Muhammad Waseem

Department of Chemistry, COMSATS University Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan



Received: 26 March 2023  Accepted: 18 June 2023


Heavy metals like copper and nickel are highly toxic due to their non-biodegradable and carcinogenic nature. In this study, adsorption technique was used to remove these undesired heavy metals from aqueous solutions. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) due to fascinating member in carbon family are selected as an adsorbent which was further functionalized by citric acid and sulfuric acid. The morphological and structural properties of CNTs before and after functionalization were studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy. Batch adsorption method was applied to investigate the adsorption of Cu2+ and Ni2+ ions on bare and acid-functionalized CNTs. The equilibrium concentration of Cu2+ and Ni2+ ions was determined by atomic absorbance spectroscopy. The respective maximum adsorption capacity for Cu2+ ions by CNTs, SA-CNTs and CA-CNTs was 13.19, 25 and 65.35 mg/g, whereas for Ni2+ ions these were 14, 33 and 40 mg/g. The thermodynamic parameters like ΔH, ΔS and ΔG were also calculated by using van’t Hoff equation. The adsorption data was compared with the previous findings, and the results showed that acid-functionalized CNTs are more effective than bare CNTs for the adsorption of Cu2+ and Ni2+. Finally, the adsorbent recovery was ensured by desorption study of metal ions by using pre-sorbed Cu2+ and Ni2+ ions.

Keywords: Adsorption; CNTs; Copper; Functionalization; Nickel

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-023-02955-5


Chemical Papers 77 (11) 6519–6531 (2023)

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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