In this paper, the aim of the research was to obtain a highly efficient wool-based sorbent for the removal of zinc Zn(II) from wastewater. To increase the functional groups for metal binding, the wool was functionalized with chitosan. Chitosan has amino groups through which metals can be complexed easily to chelates. The physical and chemical modification of chitosan on wool was performed to analyze the influence of the coating bond on the final ability of the wool to remove metals. The presence of functional chitosan groups onto wool after adsorption was verified by attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FT-IR) spectra. The effective binding of chitosan to wool was also determined by potentiometric and polyelectrolyte titration methods. The latter titration was used to analyze the chitosan desorption. The main part of the study was the sorption of Zn(II) on natural and functionalized wool. The influence was investigated as a function of contact time, pH, metal ion concentration and temperature on the sorption process. The absorbent with the highest concentration of protonated amino groups (607.7 mmol/kg) and responding sorption capacity of 1.52 mg/g was obtained with wool physically modified by a macromolecular chitosan solution (1%) at pH = 7. Adsorption of Zn(II) onto pristine and modified wool corresponded to pseudo-second order kinetics (R2
> 0.9884). The Langmuir model was found to be more suitable (R2
> 0.9866) in comparison to the Freundlich model. The Zn(II) sorption process was spontaneous (∆G
< 0) and exothermic (∆H
< 0). The results found in this study are significant for escalating the possible use of wool modified with polysaccharide coatings as a sustainable source to improve or increase the metal sorption activity of wool.
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