pp 1–14 | Cite as

Tree-like cellulose nanofiber membranes modified by citric acid for heavy metal ion (Cu2+) removal

  • Kai Zhang
  • Zongjie Li
  • Nanping Deng
  • Jingge Ju
  • Yafang Li
  • Bowen Cheng
  • Weimin KangEmail author
  • Jing YanEmail author
Original Paper


Eco-friendly tree-like porous carboxyl modified cellulose nanofiber membranes as highly efficient adsorbents for heavy metal ions were fabricated by the electrospinning of cellulose acetate (CA)/tetrabutylammonium chloride (TBAC)/manganese dioxide (MnO2) solution, and subsequent deacetylation treatment to turn CA into cellulose and citric acid modification to graft carboxyl group on the surface of cellulose nanofibers. The addition of TBAC led to the formation of tree-like structure and MnO2 particles were used as pore-forming agents. The effects of pH, initial ion concentrations and contact time on the removal capacity of heavy metal ions were investigated. During the removal process, the abundant carboxyl groups (–COOH) transferred to carboxylate ions (–COO) which had stronger ion exchange ability to the metal ion adsorption. In addition, the tree-like porous structure supplied large specific surface area and effectively increased the removal capacity. The removal process could reach a plateau in 90 min with the maximum removal amount of 399.14 mg/g. The removal process was also depicted by Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm model. Generally, the tree-like porous structure will have extensive prospects in the fields of filtration, electrochemistry, tissue engineering and so on.

Graphical abstract


Cellulose Tree-like nanofiber Electrospinning Porous Removal Carboxyl modification 



The author would like to thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51673148), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Grant (2018M630276), the Science and Technology Plans of Tianjin (17JCZDJC38100, 16JCTPJC45600, 16PTSYJC00110) for their financial supports.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kai Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zongjie Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nanping Deng
    • 1
  • Jingge Ju
    • 1
  • Yafang Li
    • 2
  • Bowen Cheng
    • 2
  • Weimin Kang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jing Yan
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Separation Membranes and Membrane ProcessesTianjin Polytechnic UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.School of TextilesTianjin Polytechnic UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.School of Material Science and EngineeringTianjin Polytechnic UniversityTianjinChina

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