Polycysteine and other polyamino acid functionalized microfiltration membrane sorbents work exceptionally well for the removal and recovery of toxic heavy metals from aqueous streams. These are high capacity sorbents (0.3-3.7 mg/cm2) with excellent accessibility and selectivity for heavy metals, such as Hg(II), Pb(II), and Cd(II) over nontoxic components such as calcium. Polycysteine functionalized membranes work particularly well for metals such as Hg(II) and Cd(II), even in high total dissolved solids containing streams. Parameters such as permeate flow rate, feed metal concentration, and counterion (for Hg(II)) have also been found to influence sorbent behavior. For multicomponent systems, polyglutamic acid functionalized membranes have been found to selectively sorb Pb(II) versus Cd(II). Selective sorption of Cr(III) has also been observed with actual waste streams containing several heavy metals, hardness, and high sodium (2000 mg/L). The high capacity, site accessibility, and ease of regeneration of these membrane-based sorbents make them ideal for environmental separations when volume reduction or selective recovery is required.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry