The purpose of this study was to design a powerful fibrous sorbent for recovering precious metals such as Pd(II) and Pt(IV), and moreover for identifying its selectivity toward Pd(II) or Pt(IV) from a binary metal solution. For the development of the sorbent, polyacrylonitrile (PAN) was selected as a model textile because its morphological property (i.e., thin fiber form) is suitable for fast adsorption processes, and a high amount of PAN has been discharged from industrial textile factories. The PAN fiber was prepared by spinning a PAN–dimethylsulfoxide mixture into distilled water, and then its surface was activated through amidoximation so that the fiber surface could possess binding sites for Pd(II) and Pt(IV). Afterwards, by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses, it was confirmed that the amidoximation reaction successfully occurred. The surface-activated fiber, designated as PAN–oxime fiber, was used to adsorb and recover precious metals. In the experiment results, it was clearly observed that adsorption capacity of PAN–oxime fiber was significantly enhanced compared to the raw material form. Actually, the raw material does not have sorption capacity for the metals. In a comparison study with commercial sorbent (Amberjet™ 4200), it was found that adsorption capacity of PAN–oxime was rather lower than that of Amberjet™ 4200, however, in the aspects of sorption kinetics and metal selectivity, the new sorbent has much faster and better selectivity.
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