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Ionic liquids to remove toxic metal pollution


Pollution by toxic, non-degradable metals is a rising health concern in the context of increasing industrialization and metal demand. Diseases may include brain damage, cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal disorders and cancer, calling for advanced methods to clean soil, water, wastewater and air. Here, we review the use of ionic liquids, which are considered as eco-friendly solvents, to remove metals. Ionic liquids have unique properties such as no vapor emission, good solvation ability, higher thermal stability and tunability. Ionic liquids separate efficiently metal ions from aqueous solutions by electrostatic, Van der Waals and ion–pair interactions. Ionic liquids can be recovered by stripping, then reused several times for liquid–liquid extraction, adsorption and membrane separation. Ionic liquids improve membrane stability in membrane separation, and they act as surfactant for adsorption.

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The first author would like to acknowledge the Department of Chemical Engineering, Alagappa College of Technology, Anna University, Chennai, and the financial support (Anna Centenary Research fellowship) provided by Centre for Research.

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Correspondence to Brinda Lakshmi Anguraj.

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Rajadurai, V., Anguraj, B.L. Ionic liquids to remove toxic metal pollution. Environ Chem Lett 19, 1173–1203 (2021).

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