Magnetic poly(vinylpyridine)-coated carbon nanotubes: An efficient supramolecular tool for wastewater purification

Laura Maggini, Jean Marie Raquez, Riccardo Marega, Jennifer Jensen Ahrens, Florent Pineux, Franck Meyer, Philippe Dubois, Davide Bonifazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Herein, we report the first example of a supramolecular carbon nanotube (CNT)-based magnetic depolluting agent for divalent metal ion (M2+) removal from aqueous solutions. In particular, magnetic multi-walled carbon nanotubes (m-MWCNTs) coated with poly(vinylpyridine) (PVPy) self-aggregate in aqueous solutions that contain divalent metal ions (such as Zn2+, Cu2+ and Pb2+) to form tight insoluble bundles in which the M2+ ions remain trapped through pyridyl-M2+-pyridyl interactions. Magnetic filtration ultimately affords the efficient separation of the depolluted solution from the precipitated M2+-CNT agglomerates. Upon acid treatment, the supramolecular threads could be disassembled to afford the free CNT-polymer hybrid, thus allowing recycling of the depolluting agent. All materials and complexation/decomplexation steps were thoroughly characterised by using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM and SEM, respectively). The quantification of the M2+ residual concentrations in water was evaluated by using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), which showed that, depending on the metal cation, this material can remove up to 99 % of the contaminant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • carbon
  • environmental chemistry
  • lead
  • nanotubes
  • zinc

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