Selective removal of toxic Cr(VI) from aqueous solution by adsorption combined with reduction at a magnetic nanocomposite surface

Nazia H. Kera, Madhumita Bhaumik, Kriveshini Pillay, Suprakas Sinha Ray, Arjun Maity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


The adsorption of toxic hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) and its reduction to trivalent chromium (Cr(III)) are important processes for the treatment of industrial wastewater. Conducting polymers can adsorb and reduce Cr(VI) to less toxic Cr(III) but have low adsorption capacities due to agglomeration of particles and are difficult to separate from treated water. In this study, magnetic polypyrrole (PPy)–polyaniline (PANI)/iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanocomposite was synthesized for the selective removal of Cr(VI) in aqueous solution. PPy-PANI/Fe3O4 nanocomposite was characterized using various techniques including ATR-FTIR, FE-SEM, HR-TEM, EDX, TGA, XRD, VSM and XPS analyses. PPy-PANI/Fe3O4 nanocomposite (0.05 g) removed 99% of Cr(VI) from aqueous solution (100 mg/L, pH 2). Speciation studies confirmed Cr(VI) adsorption and reduction to Cr(III) by the PPy-PANI/Fe3O4 nanocomposite in solutions with initial pH of 2 and 3 and that no Cr(VI) reduction occurred at pH values of 4 and above. The Langmuir maximum adsorption capacity for Cr(VI) removal by PPy-PANI/Fe3O4 nanocomposite at pH 2 was 303 mg/g at 25 °C. PPy-PANI/Fe3O4 nanocomposite was highly selective for Cr(VI) removal and could be used for three consecutive treatment cycles without loss of adsorption capacity. Moreover, the magnetic nanocomposite could be separated from the reaction fluid using an external magnet. PPy-PANI/Fe3O4 nanocomposite is therefore a promising magnetic adsorbent for the treatment of industrial wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-228
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Adsorption
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Isotherms
  • Kinetics
  • Magnetic nanocomposite
  • Reduction
  • Speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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