A novel cellulose-based cross-linked polymer, dicarboxymethyl cellulose (DCMC), has been synthesized and used for methylene blue (MB) removal. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), nitrogen porosimetry, and optical microscopy were employed to characterize the structure of the cellulose-based adsorbent. The number of carboxylate groups per gram of polymer (CG) was calculated with sodium content determined by ICP-AES. Systematic equilibrium and kinetic adsorption studies were performed to assess the polymer suitability for dye removal. The effect of pH on its adsorption capacity was also studied and the equilibrium adsorption data was analyzed using Langmuir, Freundlich, and Sips isotherms. At pH = 3, the adsorption isotherms followed the Langmuir model with a maximum adsorption capacity of 887.6 mg/g. At pH = 6.4, the adsorption isotherms produced S-shape curves and were best fitted with the Sips model. The maximum MB uptake increased to 1354.6 mg/g. Pseudo first-order and second-order models were used to fit the kinetic data. A pseudo second-order kinetic model provided the best correlation for the adsorption of MB onto DCMC. Adsorption coupled with membrane filtration achieved 95% methylene blue removal and DCMC can be successfully regenerated and reused in consecutive experiments.
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