Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 56–78 | Cite as

Carbon nanotubes, graphene, and their derivatives for heavy metal removal

  • Guoqiang Yu
  • Yang Lu
  • Jiang Guo
  • Manisha Patel
  • Adarsh Bafana
  • Xifan Wang
  • Bin Qiu
  • Clayton Jeffryes
  • Suying WeiEmail author
  • Zhanhu GuoEmail author
  • Evan K. WujcikEmail author


Carbon nanoadsorbents have attracted tremendous interest for metal ion removal from wastewater due to their extraordinary aspect ratios, surface areas, porosities, and reactivities. However, challenges still exist as they suffer from subpar dispersion and recovery, tending to aggregate, and so on. Thus, significant research efforts focus on modification of these carbon nanomaterials to increase the dispersions and recoveries, while maintaining or even enhancing the desirable properties. This review aims to give an in-depth look at recent and impactful advances in metal ion adsorption applications involving these modified carbon nanostructures. Here, the advanced design and testing of modified carbon nanostructures for metal ion removal are emphasized with comprehensive examples, and various adsorption behaviors and mechanisms are discussed, which are hoped to help the development of more effective adsorbents for water treatment.


Carbon nanoadsorbents Heavy metals Water treatment Modification methods Adsorption behaviors 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guoqiang Yu
    • 1
  • Yang Lu
    • 2
  • Jiang Guo
    • 3
  • Manisha Patel
    • 1
  • Adarsh Bafana
    • 1
  • Xifan Wang
    • 4
  • Bin Qiu
    • 5
  • Clayton Jeffryes
    • 1
  • Suying Wei
    • 6
    Email author
  • Zhanhu Guo
    • 3
    Email author
  • Evan K. Wujcik
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical EngineeringLamar UniversityBeaumontUSA
  2. 2.Materials Engineering And Nanosensor (MEAN) Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  3. 3.Integrated Composites Laboratory (ICL), Department of Chemical & Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineeringRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  5. 5.College of Environmental Science & EngineeringBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  6. 6.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryLamar UniversityBeaumontUSA
  7. 7.Department of Materials ScienceThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  8. 8.Center for Materials for Information Technology [MINT]The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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