Removing Chromium from Waste-water effectively

The functional materials group at the Center for Materials Science (CMS) - Zewail City of Science and Technology, led by Dr. Mohamed Alkordi, Director of the Materials Science program and the Associate Director of the Center for Materials Science have synthesized a composite that is cost-effective in removing the heavy metal, chromium, which is considered to be a carcinogen and a water pollutant. The composite microporous amino-derivative zirconium-based metal organic framework (MOF) and the solid support, silica gel, demonstrated excellent chromium uptake compared to other previously reported MOF-based sorbents.


This work was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry - Journal of Materials Chemistry A. The novel idea behind this work is to utilize the high surface area and microporosity of the MOFs and the amino functionalization which renders the composite stable in aqueous solution and demonstrate high affinity to chromium as well as the cheap support and high surface area of the silica gel to generate an efficiently-packed material.


The material was used in ion-exchange columns to effectively remove chromium from aqueous solutions. Furthermore, it was shown that the material was recyclable and was still capable of removing the chromium ions even in the presence of other competing ions. The authors have chosen to develop a MOF-based sorbent compared to the commonly used organic resins since the latter are oxidized while capturing the chromium, making them expensive, unstable and of poor recyclability.


Alkordi highlighted that his team had investigated the applicability of the synthesized material to treat waste water from a cement industry, contaminated with chromium and the results showed that the material was able to decrease the chromium concentration from 3.8 parts per million to 0.25 parts per million. The team is currently working on demonstrating the versatility of this approach in capturing other waste-water contaminants.



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