Removing heavy metals from water with MOFs
Lead, in particular, has been used in paints, ceramic glazes, jewelry, toys and in pipes.
Current commercial methods to remove heavy metals including lead from municipal drinking water can be expensive in terms of money and energy and are inefficient.
That ability, plus the large surface area and chemical tunability of MOFs make them a promising material to remove heavy metals selectively from water.
The researchers created a water-stable MOF/polymer composite with cheap, environmentally and biologically friendly materials and tested its ability to remove heavy metals from water.
It had one of the highest reported removal capacities to date, removing over 1.6 times its own weight of mercury and 40 percent of its weight in lead.
The researchers tested the MOFs in solutions with lead levels similar to those found in contaminated water samples from Flint, Michigan.
The researchers also demonstrated how the material could be regenerated easily without toxic products.
Drinking water contamination with heavy metals, particularly lead, is a persistent problem worldwide with grave public health consequences.
Further, the composite properties are well-maintained in river and sea water samples spiked with only trace amounts of lead, illustrating unprecedented selectivity.
The material is further shown to be resistant to fouling when tested in high concentrations of common organic interferents, like humic acid, and is fully regenerable over many cycles.