The superior adsorption capacity of carbon nanotubes has been well recognized and there is a wealth of information in the literature concerning the adsorption of unionized organic pollutants on carbon nanotubes. Recently, the adsorption of emerging environmental pollutants, most of which are ionizable, has attracted increasing attention due to the heightened concerns about the accumulation of these emerging contaminants in the environment. These recent studies suggest that the adsorption of emerging ionizable contaminants on carbon nanotubes exhibit different characteristics than unionized ones. For example, a new charge-assisted intermolecular force has been proposed for ionizable compounds because some adsorption phenomenon cannot be easily explained by the conventional force theory. The adsorption of ionizable compounds also displayed much stronger dependence on solution pH and ionic strength than unionized compounds. This article aims to present a brief review on the current understanding of the adsorption of emerging ionizable contaminants to carbon nanotubes and discuss further research needs required to advance the mechanistic understanding of the interactions between ionizable contaminants and carbon nanotubes.
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