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Environmental problems - Chemical approaches
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Composites of nanostructured calcium silicate hydrate with superparamagnetic particles and their use in the uptake of copper from solution

Mathew J. Cairns A , Giancarlo M. Barassi A and Thomas Borrmann A B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University, PO Box 600, 6140 Wellington, New Zealand.

B Present Address: Othbergstrasse 10, D-37632 Eschershausen, Germany.

C Corresponding author. Email: aoc@gmx.li

Environmental Chemistry 11(3) 301-308 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN13183
Submitted: 11 October 2013  Accepted: 1 February 2014   Published: 5 June 2014

Environmental context. Mining operations release dissolved metals in waste streams which can present an environmental hazard as well as an economic loss. Large volumes of waste water and low levels of metals mean that highly effective materials such as nanoparticles or nanostructures need to be employed to remove the dissolved metals from the stream. The challenge in using nanotechnology lies in the recovery of the particles, as filtration proves ineffective; this article discusses use of magnetic composites as a potential solution to this challenge.

Abstract. Composites of magnetite and maghemite with a nanostructured calcium silicate hydrate are generated and used in the sorption of copper from solution. The superparamagnetic components allow use of high gradient separation thereby circumventing the time-consuming recovery of the silicate by filtration. The sorption capacity of the composites is comparable to that of the pure silicate. The ideal ratio of iron oxide to calcium silicate hydrate is identified to be 10 wt % of magnetite or maghemite.

Additional keywords: copper sorption, high gradient magnetic separation, sorption, superparamagnetic composite.


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