Copper removal using bio-inspired polydopamine coated natural zeolites

Yang Yu, Joseph Shapter, Rachel Popelka-Filcoff, John Bennett, Amanda Ellis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    128 Citations (Scopus)


    Herein, for the first time, natural clinoptilolite-rich zeolite powders modified with a bio-inspired adhesive, polydopamine (PDA), have been systematically studied as an adsorbent for copper cations (Cu(II)) from aqueous solution. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) revealed successful grafting of PDA onto the zeolite surface. The effects of pH (2-5.5), PDA treatment time (3-24h), contact time (0 to 24h) and initial Cu(II) ion concentrations (1 to 500mgdm-3) on the adsorption of Cu(II) ions were studied using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and neutron activation analysis (NAA). The adsorption behavior was fitted to a Langmuir isotherm and shown to follow a pseudo-second-order reaction model. The maximum adsorption capacities of Cu(II) were shown to be 14.93mgg-1 for pristine natural zeolite and 28.58mgg-1 for PDA treated zeolite powders. This impressive 91.4% increase in Cu(II) ion adsorption capacity is attributed to the chelating ability of the PDA on the zeolite surface. Furthermore studies of recyclability using NAA showed that over 50% of the adsorbed copper could be removed in mild concentrations (0.01M or 0.1M) of either acid or base.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)174-182
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
    Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2014


    • Copper adsorption
    • Natural zeolites
    • Neutron activation analysis
    • Polydopamine


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