Recovering uranium from seawater has been the subject of many studies for decades, and has recently seen significant progress in materials development since the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has become involved. With DOE direction, the uranium uptake for amidoxime-based polymer adsorbents has more than tripled in capacity. In an effort to better understand how these new adsorbent materials behave under different environmental stimuli, several experimental and modeling based studies have been employed to investigate impacts of competing ions, salinity, pH, and other factors on uranium uptake. For this study, the effect of temperature and type of comonomer on uranium adsorption by three different amidoxime adsorbents (AF1, 38H, AI8) was examined. Experimental measurements of uranium uptake were taken in 1−L batch reactors from 10 to 40 °C. A chemisorption model was developed and applied in order to estimate unknown system parameters through optimization. Experimental results demonstrated that the overall uranium chemisorption process for all three materials is endothermic, which was also mirrored in the model results. Model simulations show very good agreement with the data and were able to predict the temperature effect on uranium adsorption as experimental conditions changed. This model may be used for predicting uranium uptake by other amidoxime materials.
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