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Activated Carbon/Transition Metal (Ni, In, Cu) Hexacyanoferrate Nanocomposites for Cesium Adsorption

Institut de Science des Matériaux de Mulhouse (IS2M) UMR 7361, Université de Haute-Alsace, CNRS, F-68100 Mulhouse, France
Université de Strasbourg, F-67081 Strasbourg, France
ONET Technologies, 36 Bd de l’Océan-CS 20280, 13258 Marseille, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1253;
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 9 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Clean Processes in Energy)
PDF [4082 KB, uploaded 16 April 2019]


Transition metal hexacyanoferrate/microporous activated carbon composites were obtained using a simple successive impregnation approach. The effect of metal type (nickel, indium, or copper), and the carbon oxidation on the composite characteristics (porosity, metal structure, and particle size), as well as on the removal efficiency of cesium from aqueous solution was investigated. Successful formation of the desired metal hexacyanoferrate phase was achieved and the size of the metallic nanoparticles and their dispersion in the carbon network was found to depend on the metal type, with the indium and nickel-based materials exhibiting the smallest particle size distribution (< 10 nm). Adsorption tests performed under batch conditions demonstrate that the copper hexacyanoferrate/activated carbon composite present the highest cesium removal capacity from aqueous solution (74.7 mg·g−1) among the three studied metal-based nanocomposites. The carbon oxidation treatment leads to the increase in the number of functional groups to the detriment of the porosity but allows for an improvement in the Cs adsorption capacity. This indicates that the Cs adsorption process is governed by the carbon surface chemistry and not its porosity. Moreover, combining oxidized carbon support with copper hexacyanoferrate induces the highest cesium adsorption capacity (101.5 mg·g−1). This could be related to synergistic effects through two absorption mechanisms, i.e., a cation exchange mechanism of Cs with the metallic hexacyanoferrate phase and Cs adsorption via carbon oxygen surface groups, as demonstrated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analyses. View Full-Text
Keywords: potassium metal hexacyanoferrate; activated carbon; Cs adsorption; impregnation potassium metal hexacyanoferrate; activated carbon; Cs adsorption; impregnation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kiener, J.; Limousy, L.; Jeguirim, M.; Le Meins, J.-M.; Hajjar-Garreau, S.; Bigoin, G.; Ghimbeu, C.M. Activated Carbon/Transition Metal (Ni, In, Cu) Hexacyanoferrate Nanocomposites for Cesium Adsorption. Materials 2019, 12, 1253.

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