Research Topic

The Separation and Removal of Inorganic Ions and Organics from Aqueous Solutions

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The separation and removal of inorganic ions and organics from aqueous solutions is an essential question in many fields. For example, the desalination of brackish water and seawater, i.e. separation and removal of salts from the salinity solutions, is a strategic solution to the worsening global shortage of ...

The separation and removal of inorganic ions and organics from aqueous solutions is an essential question in many fields. For example, the desalination of brackish water and seawater, i.e. separation and removal of salts from the salinity solutions, is a strategic solution to the worsening global shortage of fresh water. Heavy metals, such as Cd, Cr, Pb, Cu, Ni, As, Zn, and Hg, have high solubility in aquatic environments and can cause serious harm to the ecosystem and health of living organisms. Thus, the separation or removal of heavy metals has long been a hot topic in the environment sciences. In addition, effective and economical separation/enrichment of valuable elements from seawater has always been the goal for scientists and engineers so we can utilize the treasure trove of resources from the ocean. Hydrometallurgy, another method for resource extraction from water, has become an effective and versatile technique to recover wanted metals from low-grade ore or secondary resources. The separation and removal of wanted metals from leaching solutions is an indispensable procedure for most hydrometallurgy process, which may determine the recovery of metals and quality of final product. Finally, with the development of modern industries, organic pollutants such as benzene compounds, phenols, pesticides, dyes, from aqueous solutions also has attracted much attention because of their toxic and carcinogenic properties so developing new methods for their removal is an important research area.

There are various techniques that have been developed and applied in the separation and removal of inorganic ions and organic pollutants from aqueous solutions. Adsorption by natural minerals or artificial materials, smectite, diatomite, zeolite, activated carbon, carbon nanotubes, for example, has been used in the removal of metals and organic pollutants due to the simple design of the removal process and easy operations. Ion exchange and solvent extraction are well-established methods for separation and recovery of valuable ions from leaching solutions in hydrometallurgy. Membrane technologies, including but not limited to reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, ultrafiltration, microfiltration, and membrane distillation, are widely used in desalination and recovery of wanted ions or separation of pollutants from aqueous phases. Capacitive deionization, originally proposed as a desalination technique, now has been developed to selectively separate ions from aqueous solutions.

This Research Topic focuses on the experimental research and theoretical analyses of separation and removal of inorganic ions and organics from homogeneous solutions with novel methods or materials. Original Research, as well as Review articles of experimental and/or modeling contributions, are welcome, including – yet not limited - to the below themes:

• Adsorbents for ions and organics, including natural minerals and artificial materials.
• Novel materials, methods and models for the ion exchange and solvent extraction in hydrometallurgy, environment, chemical analysis etc.
• Modified membrane technologies, including the reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, ultrafiltration, microfiltration, membrane distillation etc.
• Novel materials, methods and models for the capacitive deionization.
• Other new adsorbents, materials, methods and models for desalination and separation and removal of inorganic ions and organics


Keywords: Separation, Recovery, Adsorption, Heavy metals, Organics, Membrane technology


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