Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 18279

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Applied Chemistry and Physics, University of León, León, Spain
Interests: water pollution and contamination; water and wastewater treatment: global treatment systems; sustainable treatment processes; clean and alternative technologies; waste management and valorization; alternative adsorbent materials; alternative photocatalysts
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is indispensable to the functioning of most known life forms, and good water quality is essential to human health, social and economic development, and ecosystem functioning. Nonetheless, population growth has led to the degradation and depletion of freshwater resources around the world. Under these circumstances, ensuring sufficient and safe water supplies for everyone is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. For this goal to be achieved, the development and implementation of appropriate and efficient wastewater treatments that make it possible to reduce water pollution is a major challenge.

The application of polymers and polymeric materials in wastewater treatment is a research field that has developed greatly. Conventional and novel approaches have been used by researchers from different areas, who have demonstrated that polymers and polymeric materials may have an important role in the removal of pollutants of different origin and nature from wastewater, in the disposal of sludge, in the recycling of materials, in the improved efficiency and economy of wastewater, etc.

In view of the relevant contributions that polymers and polymeric materials may make in the conservation of the aquatic environment—namely, by their application in wastewater treatment—this Special Issue aims to publish of original research and review papers within this area. Scientific contributions on any aspect related to the utilization of polymers and polymeric materials—either synthetic or natural—in the treatment or purification of wastewater are welcomed.

Given the large spectrum of materials, types of pollution and treatment processes, this is a widely inclusive Special Issue. Subject areas may include but are not limited to applications such as:

  • Coagulation–flocculation;
  • Membrane processes;
  • Ion exchange;
  • Adsorption;
  • New (nano)materials production, characterization or utilization;
  • Surface modification and/or functionalization;
  • Molecularly imprinted polymers;
  • Polymer catalysts for water treatment;
  • Polymeric blends, hybrids or (nano)composites;
  • Combined or integrated treatments;
  • Novel strategies for efficiency enhancement;
  • Sustainable wastewater treatment;
  • Management of sludge from wastewater treatment.

Dr. Marta Otero
Dr. Ricardo N. Coimbra
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • wastewater treatment
  • organic contaminants
  • inorganic contaminants
  • pollutant removal
  • polymer applications

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 3470 KiB  
Article
Highly Efficient Biosorption of Cationic Dyes via Biopolymeric Adsorbent-Material-Based Pectin Extract Polysaccharide and Carrageenan Grafted to Cellulosic Nonwoven Textile
by Yassine EL-Ghoul and Salman Alsamani
Polymers 2024, 16(5), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16050585 - 21 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
Water scarcity and contamination have emerged as critical global challenges, requiring the development of effective and sustainable solutions for the treatment of contaminated water. Recently, functionalized polymer biomaterials have garnered significant interest because of their potential for a wide range of water treatment [...] Read more.
Water scarcity and contamination have emerged as critical global challenges, requiring the development of effective and sustainable solutions for the treatment of contaminated water. Recently, functionalized polymer biomaterials have garnered significant interest because of their potential for a wide range of water treatment applications. Accordingly, this paper highlights the design of a new adsorbent material based on a cellulosic nonwoven textile grafted with two extracted biopolymers. The layer-by-layer grafting technique was used for the polyelectrolyte multi-layer (PEM) biosorbent production. Firstly, we extracted a Suaeda fruticosa polysaccharide (SFP) and confirmed its pectin-like polysaccharide structure via SEC, NMR spectroscopy, and chemical composition analyses. Afterward, the grafting was designed via an alternating multi-deposition of layers of SFP polymer and carrageenan crosslinked with 1,2,3,4-butanetetracarboxylic acid (BTCA). FT-IR and SEM were used to characterize the chemical and morphological characteristics of the designed material. Chemical grafting via polyesterification reactions of the PEM biosorbent was confirmed through FT-IR analysis. SEM revealed the total filling of material microspaces with layers of grafted biopolymers and a rougher surface morphology. The assessment of the swelling behavior revealed a significant increase in the hydrophilicity of the produced adsorbent system, a required property for efficient sorption potential. The evaluation of the adsorption capabilities using the methylene blue (MB) as cationic dye was conducted in various experimental settings, changing factors such as the pH, time, temperature, and initial concentration of dye. For the untreated and grafted materials, the greatest adsorbed amounts of MB were 130.6 mg/g and 802.6 mg/g, respectively (pH = 4, T = 22 C, duration = 120 min, and dye concentration = 600 mg/L). The high adsorption performance, compared to other reported materials, was due to the presence of a large number of hydroxyl, sulfonate, and carboxylic functional groups in the biosorbent polymeric system. The adsorption process fitted well with the pseudo-first-order kinetic model and Langmuir/Temkin adsorption isotherms. This newly developed multi-layered biosorbent shows promise as an excellent adsorption resultant and cheap-cost/easy preparation alternative for treating industrial wastewater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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15 pages, 3955 KiB  
Article
Development of Poly(acrylamide)-Based Hydrogel Composites with Powdered Activated Carbon for Controlled Sorption of PFOA and PFOS in Aqueous Systems
by Maria Victoria X. Klaus, Angela M. Gutierrez and J. Zach Hilt
Polymers 2023, 15(22), 4384; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15224384 - 11 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2468
Abstract
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic compounds developed for various applications; some are connected to adverse health impacts including immunosuppression and higher susceptibility to some cancers. Current PFAS remediation treatments from aqueous sources include granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption, membrane separation, and [...] Read more.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic compounds developed for various applications; some are connected to adverse health impacts including immunosuppression and higher susceptibility to some cancers. Current PFAS remediation treatments from aqueous sources include granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption, membrane separation, and anion-exchange resin (AER) removal. Each has specific disadvantages, hence the need for a new and efficient technology. Herein, acrylamide-based hydrogel composites were synthesized with powdered activated carbon (PAC) and characterized to determine their affinity for PFAS. Physicochemical characterization included Fourier-Transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to identify chemical composition, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to confirm PAC loading percentage, and aqueous swelling studies to measure the effect of crosslinking density. FTIR showed successful conversion of carbonyl and amine groups, and TGA analysis confirmed the presence of PAC within the network. Surface characterization also confirmed carbon-rich areas within composite networks, and the swelling ratio decreased with increasing crosslinking density. Finally, sorption of PFAS was detected via liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), with removal efficiencies of up to 98% for perfluorooctanoic sulfonic acid (PFOS) and 96% for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The developed hydrogel composites exhibited great potential as advanced materials with tunable levers that can increase affinity towards specific compounds in water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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20 pages, 2819 KiB  
Article
Porosity Effect of Polystyrene Membranes on Desalination Performance: A Combined Experimental and Numerical Heat and Mass Transfer Study in Direct Contact Membrane Distillation
by Haneen Abdelrazeq and Majeda Khraisheh
Polymers 2023, 15(8), 1821; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15081821 - 8 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1721
Abstract
Membrane distillation (MD) is a thermal-based membrane operation with high potential for use in the treatment of aqueous streams. In this study, the linear relationship between the permeate flux and the bulk feed temperature for different electrospun polystyrene membranes is discussed. The dynamics [...] Read more.
Membrane distillation (MD) is a thermal-based membrane operation with high potential for use in the treatment of aqueous streams. In this study, the linear relationship between the permeate flux and the bulk feed temperature for different electrospun polystyrene membranes is discussed. The dynamics of combined heat and mass transfer mechanisms across different membrane porosities of 77%, 89%, and 94%, each with different thicknesses, are examined. The main results for the effect of porosity with respect to the thermal efficiency and evaporation efficiency of the DCMD system are reported for electrospun polystyrene membranes. A 14.6% increase in thermal efficiency was noted for a 15% increase in membrane porosity. Meanwhile, a 15.6% rise in porosity resulted in a 5% increase in evaporation efficiency. A mathematical validation along with computational predictions is presented and interlinked with the maximum thermal and evaporation efficiencies for the surface membrane temperatures at the feed and temperature boundary regions. This work helps to further understand the interlinked correlations of the surface membrane temperatures at the feed and temperature boundary regions with respect to the change in membrane porosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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17 pages, 2598 KiB  
Article
A Novel Chitosan/Nano-Hydroxyapatite Composite for the Adsorptive Removal of Cd(II) from Aqueous Solution
by Rachid El Kaim Billah, Ikrame Ayouch, Youness Abdellaoui, Zineb Kassab, Moonis Ali Khan, Mahfoud Agunaou, Abdessadik Soufiane, Marta Otero and Byong-Hun Jeon
Polymers 2023, 15(6), 1524; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15061524 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2603
Abstract
A novel polymer bio-composite based on nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Hap) and chitosan (CS) (CS/n-Hap) was synthesized to effectively address toxic cadmium ions removal from water. The composition and structure of CS/n-Hap bio-composite were analyzed through different characterization techniques. XRD patterns affirmed that the crystalline structure [...] Read more.
A novel polymer bio-composite based on nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Hap) and chitosan (CS) (CS/n-Hap) was synthesized to effectively address toxic cadmium ions removal from water. The composition and structure of CS/n-Hap bio-composite were analyzed through different characterization techniques. XRD patterns affirmed that the crystalline structure of n-Hap remained unaltered during CS/n-Hap synthesis, while FT-IR spectrum sustained all the characteristic peaks of both CS and n-Hap, affirming the successful synthesis of CS/n-Hap. Adsorption studies, including pH, adsorbent dosage, contact time, initial Cd(II) concentration, and temperature, were carried out to explain and understand the adsorption mechanism. Comparatively, CS/n-Hap bio-composite exhibited better Cd(II) adsorption capacity than pristine CS, with an experimental maximum uptake of 126.65 mg/g under optimized conditions. In addition, the kinetic data were well fitted to the pseudo-second-order model, indicating the formation of chemical bonds between Cd(II) and CS/n-Hap during adsorption. Furthermore, the thermodynamic study suggested that Cd(II) adsorption onto CS/n-Hap was endothermic and spontaneous. The regeneration study showed only about a 3% loss in Cd(II) uptake by CS/n-Hap after five consecutive cycles. Thus, a simple and facile approach was here developed to synthesize an eco-friendly and cost-effective material that can be successfully employed for the removal of toxic heavy metal ions from water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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17 pages, 4375 KiB  
Article
Effective Removal of Glyphosate from Aqueous Systems Using Synthesized PEG-Coated Calcium Peroxide Nanoparticles: Kinetics Study, H2O2 Release Performance and Degradation Pathways
by Fan Li, Thomas Shean Yaw Choong, Luqman Chuah Abdullah, Siti Nurul Ain Md. Jamil and Nurul Nazihah Amerhaider Nuar
Polymers 2023, 15(3), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15030775 - 3 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2051
Abstract
Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl glycine) is a non-selective, broad-spectrum organophosphate herbicide. Its omnipresent application with large quantity has made glyphosate as a problematic contaminant in water. Therefore, an effective technology is urgently required to remove glyphosate and its metabolites from water. In this study, calcium [...] Read more.
Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl glycine) is a non-selective, broad-spectrum organophosphate herbicide. Its omnipresent application with large quantity has made glyphosate as a problematic contaminant in water. Therefore, an effective technology is urgently required to remove glyphosate and its metabolites from water. In this study, calcium peroxide nanoparticles (nCPs) were functioned as an oxidant to produce sufficient hydroxyl free radicals (·OH) with the presence of Fe2+ as a catalyst using a Fenton-based system. The nCPs with small particle size (40.88 nm) and high surface area (28.09 m2/g) were successfully synthesized via a co-precipitation method. The synthesized nCPs were characterized using transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffractometry (XRD), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller analysis (BET), dynamic light scattering (DLS), and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) techniques. Under the given conditions (pH = 3.0, initial nCPs dosage = 0.2 g, Ca2+/Fe2+ molar ratio = 6, the initial glyphosate concentration = 50 mg/L, RT), 99.60% total phosphorus (TP) removal and 75.10% chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal were achieved within 75 min. The degradation process fitted with the Behnajady–Modirshahla–Ghanbery (BMG) kinetics model. The H2O2 release performance and proposed degradation pathways were also reported. The results demonstrated that calcium peroxide nanoparticles are an efficient oxidant for glyphosate removal from aqueous systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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13 pages, 3730 KiB  
Article
Removal of Sulfide Ions from Kraft Washing Effluents by Photocatalysis with N and Fe Codoped Carbon Dots
by Hao Luo, Hao Liu and Chengwu Sun
Polymers 2023, 15(3), 679; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15030679 - 29 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1587
Abstract
N and Fe codoped carbon dots (N,Fe-CDs) were fabricated from citric acid, L-glutamic acid and ferric chloride via a hydrothermal method for the photocatalytic removal of S2− from kraft washing effluents (KWE). The N,Fe-CDs were fluorescent nanoparticles (average size of 3.18 nm) [...] Read more.
N and Fe codoped carbon dots (N,Fe-CDs) were fabricated from citric acid, L-glutamic acid and ferric chloride via a hydrothermal method for the photocatalytic removal of S2− from kraft washing effluents (KWE). The N,Fe-CDs were fluorescent nanoparticles (average size of 3.18 nm) and catalyzed the oxidation of S2− following a first-order kinetic model with an activation energy of 33.77 kJ/mol. The N,Fe-CDs tolerated elevated temperatures as high as 80 °C without catalyst deactivation. The N,Fe-CDs catalysts were reusable for at least four cycles, preserving over 90% of the activity. In the treatment of KWE from the kraft pulping of eucalyptus, the concentration of S2− was decreased by the N,Fe-CDs from 1.19 to 0.41 mmol/L in 6 h. Consequently, near complete remediation was obtained in 24 h. In addition, half of the chemical oxygen demand was removed after treatment with 500 mg/L of the N,Fe-CDs. In addition, the present photocatalyst was safe within a concentration of 200 mg/L, as indicated by the acetylcholinesterase inhibition test. Our findings may help develop a cleaner production process for kraft brownstock washing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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11 pages, 2273 KiB  
Article
Palladium Nanoparticle-Loaded Mesostructural Natural Woods for Efficient Water Treatment
by Zirun Wang, Chao Jia, Hengxue Xiang and Meifang Zhu
Polymers 2023, 15(3), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15030658 - 27 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
Natural wood with oriented microchannels and unique multi-level structures is an ideal candidate for making water treatment membranes. Here, palladium nanoparticles are loaded into different kinds of natural woods and the degradation property of the wood membranes for organic pollutants are investigated. The [...] Read more.
Natural wood with oriented microchannels and unique multi-level structures is an ideal candidate for making water treatment membranes. Here, palladium nanoparticles are loaded into different kinds of natural woods and the degradation property of the wood membranes for organic pollutants are investigated. The water flux of hardwoods is significantly higher than that of softwood due to the existence of large vessel elements. For the single pollutant, both hardwood and softwood show high degradation efficiency for methylene blue and methylene orange, while the degradation efficiency of the softwoods for 4-nitrophenol is significantly higher than that of the hardwoods due to their lower water flux. For the mixed pollutants, all the wood membranes have a good degradation property for different concentrations of methylene blue in polluted water, while the degradation efficiency of high concentration methylene orange and 4-nitrophenol is low. Our work will provide some guidance for the degradation of organic pollutants in actual polluted water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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12 pages, 4784 KiB  
Article
Facile Conversion of Polystyrene Waste into an Efficient Sorbent for Water Purification
by Cuizhu Ye, Ziyan Pan and Yi Shen
Polymers 2022, 14(21), 4477; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14214477 - 22 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1705
Abstract
In this work, we convert a plastic waste, i.e., polystyrene (PS), into a sorbent by a simple sulfonation process. The sulfonation time was optimized and the structures of the resulting sulfonated polystyrene (SPS) was characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray [...] Read more.
In this work, we convert a plastic waste, i.e., polystyrene (PS), into a sorbent by a simple sulfonation process. The sulfonation time was optimized and the structures of the resulting sulfonated polystyrene (SPS) was characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray and contact angle tests. The results showed that the sulfonation time of 7 h can introduce abundant sulfonic groups and preserve the self-standing structure. Additionally, the SPS has a three-dimensional porous structure and hydrophilic surface because of the presence of numerous sulfonic groups, which could serve as effective binding sites for immobilizing varying pollutants. Furthermore, as a proof-of-concept, the adsorption performance of the SPS foams was evaluated using three pollutants, namely Pb2+, lysozyme and methylene blue. The adsorption isotherms were fitted by the Langmuir and Freundlich models, while the kinetics of the adsorption processes were analyzed using the pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order and intraparticle diffusion equations. It was found that the adsorption isotherms of Pb2+ and lysozyme can be better described by the Langmuir model, leading to maximum equilibrium adsorption uptakes of 10.5 and 15.7 mg g−1 for the adsorption of Pb2+ and lysozyme, respectively. Importantly, the pollutant-saturated SPS is readily regenerated by acid washing, and the recovered sorbents exhibit outstanding cyclic performance. The abundant availability of feedstock, facile preparation and regeneration processes render the SPS foams a promising sorbent for practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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28 pages, 4424 KiB  
Article
Modeling of Hexavalent Chromium Removal with Hydrophobically Modified Cellulose Nanofibers
by Francisco de Borja Ojembarrena, Jose Luis Sánchez-Salvador, Sergio Mateo, Ana Balea, Angeles Blanco, Noemí Merayo and Carlos Negro
Polymers 2022, 14(16), 3425; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14163425 - 22 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2272
Abstract
Cellulose nanofibers (CNF) are sustainable nanomaterials, obtained by the mechanical disintegration of cellulose, whose properties make them an interesting adsorbent material due to their high specific area and active groups. CNF are easily functionalized to optimize the performance for different uses. The hypothesis [...] Read more.
Cellulose nanofibers (CNF) are sustainable nanomaterials, obtained by the mechanical disintegration of cellulose, whose properties make them an interesting adsorbent material due to their high specific area and active groups. CNF are easily functionalized to optimize the performance for different uses. The hypothesis of this work is that hydrophobization can be used to improve their ability as adsorbents. Therefore, hydrophobic CNF was applied to adsorb hexavalent chromium from wastewater. CNF was synthetized by TEMPO-mediated oxidation, followed by mechanical disintegration. Hydrophobization was performed using methyl trimetoxysilane (MTMS) as a hydrophobic coating agent. The adsorption treatment of hexavalent chromium with hydrophobic CNF was optimized by studying the influence of contact time, MTMS dosage (0–3 mmol·g−1 CNF), initial pH of the wastewater (3–9), initial chromium concentration (0.10–50 mg·L−1), and adsorbent dosage (250–1000 mg CNF·L−1). Furthermore, the corresponding adsorption mechanism was identified. Complete adsorption of hexavalent chromium was achieved with CNF hydrophobized with 1.5 mmol MTMS·g−1 CNF with the faster adsorption kinetic, which proved the initial hypothesis that hydrophobic CNF improves the adsorption capacity of hydrophilic CNF. The optimal adsorption conditions were pH 3 and the adsorbent dosage was over 500 mg·L−1. The maximum removal was found for the initial concentrations of hexavalent chromium below 1 mg·L−1 and a maximum adsorption capacity of 70.38 mg·g−1 was achieved. The kinetic study revealed that pseudo-second order kinetics was the best fitting model at a low concentration while the intraparticle diffusion model fit better for higher concentrations, describing a multi-step mechanism of hexavalent chromium onto the adsorbent surface. The Freundlich isotherm was the best adjustment model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Wastewater Treatment Applications)
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