Sorption mechanisms of metals to graphene oxide

Allison R. Showalter, Thomas A. Duster, Jennifer E.S. Szymanowski, Chongzheng Na, Jeremy B. Fein, Bruce A. Bunker

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Environmental toxic metal contamination remediation and prevention is an ongoing issue. Graphene oxide is highly sorptive for many heavy metals over a wide pH range under different ionic strength conditions. We present x-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy results investigating the binding environment of Pb(II), Cd(II) and U(VI) ions onto multi-layered graphene oxide (MLGO). Analysis indicates that the dominant sorption mechanism of Pb to MLGO changes as a function of pH, with increasing inner sphere contribution as pH increases. In contrast, the sorption mechanism of Cd to MLGO remains constant under the studied pH range. This adsorption mechanism is an electrostatic attraction between the hydrated Cd+2 ion and the MLGO surface. The U(VI), present as the uranyl ion, changes only subtly as a function of pH and is bound to the surface via an inner sphere bond. Knowledge of the binding mechanism for each metal is necessary to help in optimizing environmental remediation or prevention in filtration systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012094
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016
Event16th International Conference on X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure, XAFS 2015 - Karlsruhe, Germany
Duration: Aug 23 2015Aug 28 2015


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