Converting real-world mixed waste plastics into porous carbon nanosheets with excellent performance in the adsorption of an organic dye from wastewater†
Waste plastic utilization and wastewater treatment are the two most serious challenges on the path to urbanization and industrialization, due to the limited fossil fuel resources, ever-increasing energy demands, and severe environmental pollution. The conversion of waste plastics into high value-added carbon nanomaterials has become a promising way to utilize waste plastics; however, most current studies are limited to single component waste plastic; besides, little attention has been paid to porous carbon nanosheets (PCNSs). Herein, a facile approach was established to prepare PCNSs by the carbonization of real-world mixed waste plastics on organically-modified montmorillonite and subsequent KOH activation. The morphology, microstructure, textural property, phase structure, surface element composition, and thermal stability of the PCNSs were investigated. The PCNSs showed high specific surface area (2315 m2 g−1) and large pore volume (3.319 cm3 g−1) with high purity (>99.6%). More importantly, the PCNSs exhibited fast adsorption (about 95% of methylene blue (MB) was removed during the first 10 min of adsorption), an unprecedented adsorption capacity of 769.2 mg g−1 (higher than most of reported adsorbents), and excellent recyclability (after ten cycles, an adsorption capacity of 692.0 mg g−1 remained and 90 wt% of the PCNS was reclaimed) for MB from wastewater. This was attributed to the high specific surface area and large pore volume of the PCNS, and due to multiple adsorption mechanisms, including pore filling, hydrogen bonding, and π–π and electrostatic interactions between MB and the PCNS. It is believed that this work not only provides a novel potential way to utilize waste plastics, but also presents a facile sustainable approach to synthesize PCNSs, which will be an ideal candidate for various applications.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2015 Journal of Materials Chemistry A Hot Papers