Behaviors and mechanisms of copper adsorption on hydrolyzed polyacrylonitrile fibers

Shubo Deng, Renbi Bai*, J. P. Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


Polyacrylonitrile fiber (PANF) was hydrolyzed in a solution of sodium hydroxide and the hydrolyzed polyacrylonitrile fiber (HPANF) was used as an adsorbent to remove copper ions from aqueous solution. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that the hydrolysis process made the surface of HPANF rougher than that of PANF. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy revealed that the HPANF contained conjugated imine (-C=N-) sequences. Batch adsorption results indicated that the HPANF was very effective in adsorbing copper, and the adsorption equilibrium could be reached within 10-20 min. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) showed that some aggregates formed on the surface of the HPANF after copper ion adsorption and the average surface roughness (Ra) value of the HPANF changed from 0.363 to 3.763 nm due to copper adsorption. FTIR analysis indicated that copper adsorption caused a decrease of the light adsorption intensity of the imine (-C=N-) groups at 1573 and 1406 cm-1 wavenumbers, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) showed that the binding energy (BE) of some of the nitrogen atoms in the HPANF increased to a greater value due to copper adsorption. The FTIR and XPS results suggest that the adsorption of copper ions to the HPANF is attributed to the imine groups on the surface of the HPANF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Copper adsorption
  • FTIR and XPS spectra
  • Hydrolyzed polyacrylonitrile fiber (HPANF)
  • SEM and AFM images

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