Novel electroblowing synthesis of submicron zirconium dioxide fibers: effect of fiber structure on antimony(v) adsorption†
Both stable and radioactive antimony are common industrial pollutants. For antimonate (Sb(V)) removal from industrial waste water, we synthesized submicron zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) fibers by electroblowing and calcination of the as-electroblown fibers. The fibers are amorphous after calcination at 300 and 400 °C and their average diameter is 720 nm. The fibers calcined at 500 to 800 °C have an average diameter of 570 nm and their crystal structure transforms from tetragonal to monoclinic at the highest calcination temperatures. We investigated Sb(V) adsorption capacity of the synthesized ZrO2 fibers as a function of pH, adsorption isotherm at pH 6 and adsorption kinetics at pH 7. The tetragonal ZrO2 fibers calcined at 500 °C exhibited the best potential for Sb(V) remediation with Sb(V) uptake of 10 mg g−1 at pH 2 and a maximum Sb(V) uptake of 8.6 mg g−1 in the adsorption isotherm experiment. They also reached 30% of 7 days' Sb(V) uptake in only a minute. The adsorption kinetics followed the Elovich model.