Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 8709–8720 | Cite as

Preparation of various thiol-functionalized carbon-based materials for enhanced removal of mercury from aqueous solution

  • Siyu Xia
  • Yao Huang
  • Jingchun TangEmail author
  • Lan Wang
Research Article


In this work, biochar (BC), activated carbon (AC), and graphene oxide (GO) were thiol-functionalized using 3-mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (3-MPTS) (named as BCS, ACS, and GOS, respectively). BCS, ACS, and GOS were synthesized mainly via the interaction between hydrolyzed 3-MPTS and surface oxygen-containing functional groups (e.g., –OH, O–C=O, and C=O) and π-π interaction. The materials before and after modification were characterized and tested for mercury removal, including sorption kinetics and isotherms, the effects of adsorbent dosage, initial pH, and ionic strength. Pseudo-second-order sorption kinetic model (R2 = 0.992~1.000) and Langmuir sorption isotherm model (R2 = 0.964~0.998) fitted well with the sorption data of mercury. GOS had the most –SH groups with the largest adsorption capacity for Hg2+ and CH3Hg+ (449.6 and 127.5 mg/g), followed by ACS (235.7 and 86.7 mg/g) and BCS (175.6 and 30.3 mg/g), which were much larger than GO (96.7 and 4.9 mg/g), AC (81.1 and 24.6 mg/g), and BC (95.6 and 9.4 mg/g). GOS and ACS showed stable mercury adsorption properties at a wide pH range (2~9) and ionic strength (0.01~0.1 mol/L). Mercury maybe removed by ligand exchange, surface complexation, and electrostatic attraction.


Thiol-functionalization 3-Mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane Carbon-based material Adsorption Hg2+ CH3Hg+ 


Funding information

This work was supported by the following: (1) National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. U1806216, No. 41807115), (2) Tianjin S&T Program (17PTGCCX00240, 16YFXTSF00520, 17ZXSTSF00050), and (3) 111 program, Ministry of Education, China (T2017002).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4320_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (857 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 856 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria (Ministry of Education), Tianjin Engineering Research Center of Environmental Diagnosis and Contamination Remediation, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.School of Environment, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and HealthJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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