Removal of Heavy Metal from Wastewater Using Ion Exchange Membranes

  • Z. F. Pan
  • L. AnEmail author


Clean water supplies are vital for industry, agriculture, and energy production. However, the water pollution issue is becoming more serious due to ever-increasing wastewater discharges from the industries into the environment. As the freshwater resource is limited, it is extremely crucial to reuse the wastewater after it has been treated to remove the heavy metal ions and other organic pollutants, which is believed to be the only way to find the new water resource. In view of the significance of treatment of wastewater contaminants, various remediation technologies are proposed and developed for efficient removal of heavy metal ions, including ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, forward osmosis, adsorption, electrodialysis method, and fuel cell method. This chapter starts with a brief introduction of heavy metals, which are chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Then both physical treatment and chemical treatment are summarized. Finally, the remaining challenges and future perspectives are highlighted.


Heavy metal ions Ion exchange membrane Ion removal Physical treatment Chemical treatment 



Alkaline anion exchange membrane


Ativated carbon


Atomic force microscope


2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid based hydrogel






Bovine serum albumin


Cadmium sulfide


Cation exchange membrane


Chitosan/poly(ethylene oxide)/activated carbon (AC) nanofibrous membrane


Chitosan/PEO fiber




Fourier transform infrared


Graphene oxide


Hydrous ferric oxide


Hydrous manganese dioxide


Halloysite nanotube


Hyperbranched polyethylenimine


Ion exchange membrane


Mixed matrix membrane


Metal–organic framework










Poly(ethylene oxide)








Polyvinyl alcohol


Polyvinyl chloride


Polyvinylidene fluoride


Scanning electron microscope


Transmission electron microscope


Thin-film composite


Urine/Cr(VI) fuel cell


X-ray diffractor



This work was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. 25211817).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, KowloonHong Kong SAR, China

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