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The removal of mercury (II) from water by Ag supported on nanomesoporous silica


In this study, the synthesis of SBA-15/Ag nanocomposite materials with different amounts of silver (2.5, 5, and 10 %) has been investigated under acidic conditions by using P123 as a template via the direct method. The nanocomposites of SBA-15 were synthesized by the same method and by the addition of silver salt. Finally, the nanocomposite materials were examined for the removal of mercury ions from wastewater as an adsorbent by the reverse titration method. Characterization was carried out through x-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and N2 adsorption-desorption (Brunauer–Emmett–Teller). XRD spectra confirmed the presence of silver nanoparticles within the amorphous silica matrix of SBA-15. The Barrett–Joyner–Halenda analysis showed that SBA-15 and SBA-15/Ag have a narrow pore size distribution. SEM images demonstrated that the morphology of the matrix of SBA-15 is in spherical state. Furthermore, wavelength dispersive x-ray spectroscopy identified the presence and distribution of silver nanoparticles inside the pore channels and outside of them. Typical TEM images of SBA-15 and SBA-15/Ag (5 wt.%) indicated a regular hexagonal pore structure with long-range order and long channels. In SBA-15/Ag (5 wt.%) sample, the nanoparticles of silver was found into the pores and outside of them. The removal of mercury ions from wastewater using mesoporous silica nanocomposite containing silver nanoparticles was studied by the reverse titration analysis. The best capacity of adsorption of mercury ions from wastewater was obtained for SBA-15/Ag (5 wt.%) sample, which was equal to 42.26 mg/g in 20 min at pH of 7. The Freundlich model was used to explain the adsorption characteristics for the heterogeneous surface, and \( {K}_{\mathrm{f}} \) (adsorption capacity) and n (adsorption intensity) were determined for Hg (II) ion adsorption on SBA-15/Ag nanocomposite materials with different amounts of silver (2.5, 5, and 10 %). The value of R 2 was about 0.99, 0.99, 0.98, and 0.98 and K f was about 42, 48, 58, and 58 mg/g for SBA-15/Ag, SBA-15/Ag (2.5 %), SBA-15/Ag (5 %), and SBA-15/Ag (10 %), respectively. Furthermore, the values of n >1 show a favorable adsorption process for Hg (II) ion adsorption on SBA-15/Ag nanocomposite materials. Moreover, the Langmuir isotherm model evaluation showed that the correlation coefficients for all concentrations were R 2 >0.99, indicating that Hg (II) ions were adsorbed on the surface of SBA-15/Ag via chemical and physical interaction. Additionally, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and Technique of Order Preference Similarity to the Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) methods that depend on the criteria of the surface area, amount of adsorbent, pore volume, and cost of synthesis were used. The evaluation of results showed that the best sample was SBA-15/Ag (5 wt.%). Furthermore, the research work highlighted the antibacterial nanocomposite with suitable adsorption of Hg (II) ions from water solutions and supported its potential for environmental applications. This nanocomposite can be used in the absorption domain of Hg (II) ions from water solutions.

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The authors thank Semnan University and Nanonafez Pishroo Kavir Company for supporting some of the experimental procedures.

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Correspondence to Mardali Yousefpour.

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Ganzagh, M.A.A., Yousefpour, M. & Taherian, Z. The removal of mercury (II) from water by Ag supported on nanomesoporous silica. J Chem Biol 9, 127–142 (2016).

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  • Mesoporous silica
  • Nanocomposite
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Removal of mercury ions
  • Wastewater