Polymer-Based Magnetic Nanocomposites for the Removal of Highly Toxic Hexavalent Chromium from Aqueous Solutions

  • Mpitloane J. HatoEmail author
  • Thabiso C. Maponya
  • Kabelo E. Ramohlola
  • Kwena D. ModibaneEmail author
  • Arjun Maity
  • Gobeng R. Monama
  • Katlego MakgopaEmail author
  • Abdulhakeem Bello
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 25)


This review paper focuses on the use of iron oxide nanocomposites for the removal of hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI), from wastewater. Cr(VI) is very toxic and carcinogenic as compared to Cr(III) and can cause health defects such as liver, lung and kidney damage. It is mostly expelled from untreated or partially treated effluents from mining operation, electroplating and water cooling activities. As a result, these activities produce effluents with higher concentration levels of Cr(VI) than the acceptable discharge limits of 0.1 and 0.05 mg/L in inland surface water and drinking water, respectively, as regulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This review paper summarises the performance of different water treatment technologies studied on the last decade. Adsorption technology has emerged as an attractive method for Cr(VI) removal from industrial wastewater amongst the mentioned methods. Hence, the adsorption isotherms and kinetics models are also discussed in this review paper. The factors such as the effect of solution pH, temperature, initial Cr(VI) concentration, adsorbent dosage and other coexisting ions are also briefly discussed. In this review, magnetic polymers reveal good result than other techniques used in water treatment because of its high surface area (surface/volume ratio). It is suggested that these may be used in the future at large-scale water purification. It is also found that the polymer rich with amino groups (polypyrrole and polyaniline) enhanced Cr (VI) removal efficiency. From the results, it is evident that more attention needs to be paid on the industrial application of the technologies which were successful in the laboratory scale. In the future, combination of both copolymers may be the best option for treatment of wastewater.


Water purification Nanotechnology Magnetic nanoparticles Polypyrrole Polyaniline 



KDM and MJH would like to thank the National Research Foundation (NRF) (Grant Nos. 99166 and 99278), University of Limpopo (Research Development Grants R202 and R232) and Sasol Inzalo Foundation, South Africa, for the financial support.

Conflict of Interest

We declare there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mpitloane J. Hato
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Thabiso C. Maponya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kabelo E. Ramohlola
    • 1
  • Kwena D. Modibane
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arjun Maity
    • 6
    • 7
  • Gobeng R. Monama
    • 1
  • Katlego Makgopa
    • 3
    Email author
  • Abdulhakeem Bello
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, School of Physical and Mineral SciencesUniversity of Limpopo (Turfloop)PolokwaneSouth Africa
  2. 2.DST/CSIR Innovation Centre, National Centre for Nanostructured Materials, CSIR Material Science and ManufacturingPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceTshwane University of Technology (Acardia Campus)PretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesUniversity of South Africa (UNISA)PretoriaSouth Africa
  5. 5.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringAfrican University of Science and Technology (AUST)AbujaNigeria
  6. 6.Department of Applied ChemistryUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa
  7. 7.DST/CSIR National Center for Nanostructured MaterialsCouncil for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)PretoriaSouth Africa

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