Treatment of lead contaminated water by a PVDF membrane that is modified by zirconium, phosphate and PVA

Dandan Zhao, Yang Yu, J. Paul Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Lead contamination is one of the most serious problems in drinking water facing humans. In this study, a novel zirconium phosphate modified polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-PVDF membrane was developed for lead removal. The zirconium ions and PVA were firstly coated onto a PVDF membrane through crosslinking reactions with glutaraldehyde, which was then modified by phosphate. The adsorption kinetics study showed that most of ultimate uptake occurred in 5 h. The adsorption increased with an increase in pH; the optimal adsorption was achieved at pH 5.5. The experimental data were better described by Langmuir equation than Freundlich equation; the maximum adsorption capacity was 121.2 mg-Pb/g at pH 5.5, much higher than other reported adsorptive membranes. The membrane exhibited a higher selectivity for lead over zinc with a relative selectivity coefficient (Pb 2+ /Zn 2+ ) of 9.92. The filtration study showed that the membrane with an area of 12.56 cm 2 could treat 13.9 L (equivalent to 73,000 bed volumes) of lead containing wastewater with an influent concentration of 224.5 μ g/L to meet the maximum contaminant level of 15 μ g/L. It was demonstrated that the membrane did well in the removal of lead in both simulated wastewater and lead-spiked reservoir water and had a good reusability in its applications. The XPS studies revealed that the lead uptake was mainly due to cation exchange between hydrogen ions and lead ions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-573
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Filtration
  • Ion-exchange
  • Lead
  • Modified PVA-PVDF membrane
  • Zirconium phosphate

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