Thiol-Functionalized Membranes for Mercury Capture from Water

Sebastián Hernández, Md Saiful Islam, Samuel Thompson, Madison Kearschner, Evan Hatakeyama, Nga Malekzadeh, Thomas Hoelen, Dibakar Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Pore functionalized membranes with appropriate ion exchange/chelate groups allow toxic metal sorption under convective flow conditions. This study explores the sorption capacity of ionic mercury in a polyvinylidene fluoride-poly(acrylic acid) (PVDF-PAA) functionalized membrane immobilized with cysteamine (MEA). Two methods of MEA immobilization to the PVDF-PAA membrane have been assessed: (i) ion exchange (IE) and (ii) carbodiimide cross-linker chemistry using 1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-3-ethyl carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS), known as EDC/NHS coupling. The ion exchange method demonstrates that cysteamine (MEA) can be immobilized effectively on PVDF-PAA membranes without covalent attachment. The effectiveness of the MEA immobilized membranes to remove ionic mercury from the water was evaluated by passing a dissolved mercury(II) nitrate solution through the membranes. The sorption capacity of mercury for MEA immobilized membrane prepared by the IE method is 1015 mg/g PAA. On the other hand, the sorption capacity of mercury for MEA immobilized membrane prepared by EDC/NHS chemistry is 2446 mg/g PAA, indicating that membrane functionalization by EDC/NHS coupling enhanced mercury sorption 2.4 times compared to the IE method. The efficiencies of Hg removal are 94.1 ± 1.1 and 99.1 ± 0.1% for the MEA immobilized membranes prepared by IE and EDC/NHS coupling methods, respectively. These results show potential applications of MEA immobilized PVDF-PAA membranes for industrial wastewater treatment specifically from energy and mining industries to remove mercury and other toxic metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5287-5295
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 25 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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