Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 6245–6278 | Cite as

Nanomaterials as versatile adsorbents for heavy metal ions in water: a review

  • Gautam Kumar SarmaEmail author
  • Susmita Sen Gupta
  • Krishna G. Bhattacharyya
Review Article


Over the years, heavy metal pollution has become a very serious environmental problem worldwide. Even though anthropogenic sources are believed to be the major cause of heavy metal pollution, they can also be introduced into the environment from natural geogenic sources. Heavy metals, because of their toxicity and carcinogenicity, are considered to be the most harmful contaminants of groundwater as well as surface water, a serious threat to both human and aquatic life. Nanomaterials due to their size and higher surface area to volume ratio show some unique properties compared to their bulk counterpart and have drawn significant attention of the scientific community in the last few decades. This large surface area can make these materials as effective adsorbents in pollution remediation studies. In this review, an attempt has been made to focus on the applicability of different types of nanomaterials, such as clay-nanocomposites, metal oxide-based nanomaterials, carbon nanotubes, and various polymeric nanocomposites as adsorbents for removal of variety of heavy metals, such as As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sn, U, V, and Zn, from water as reported during the last few years. This work tries to analyze the metal–nanomaterial interactions, the mechanism of adsorption, the adsorption capacities of the nanomaterials, and the kinetics of adsorption under various experimental conditions. The review brings forward the relation between the physicochemical properties of the nanomaterials and heavy metal adsorption on them.


Adsorption Heavy metals Nanomaterials Review Water treatment 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryRajiv Gandhi UniversityDoimukhIndia
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryB N CollegeDhubriIndia
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryGauhati UniversityGuwahatiIndia

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