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Current research on ZnFeO-based adsorbents rely mainly on its surface charge to remove Congo red (CR). However, the weak charge of ZnFeO due its normal spinel structure makes this approach inefficient as evident from its low activity. Considering the potential of ZnFeO as a low cost nontoxic adsorbent, it is important to improve its activity. Herein, we present an in-situ prepared 1-D ZnO-ZnFeO with a heterojunction which adsorbs CR chemically instead of the generic physisorption. While its 1-D structure allows very low adsorbent loading to be employed. Together, these two unique properties make 1-D ZnO-ZnFeO ˜3.3x more effective at treating CR effluent than reported ZnFeO-based adsorbents. The chemisorption reaction involves chelating/bridging bidentate bonding between sulfonic groups on CR and ZnO-ZnFeO heterojunction. Its potency is regulated by the ZnO content of the composite which suggest a synergistic effect between the metal oxides phases. Interestingly, spent 1-D ZnO-ZnFeO can be regenerated in NaOH solution and retains ˜75% of its adsorption capacity even after repeated use. These findings provide key insights into how interfacial interactions in mixed metal oxide composites and their morphology affect dye adsorption. This information may be useful to develop high performing adsorbents from metal oxides in general.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of hazardous materials
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