Poly-thiosemicarbazide membrane for gold recovery

Luis Francisco Villalobos, Tahir Yapici, Klaus-Viktor Peinemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

A novel polymeric membrane adsorber with a high density of adsorption sites that can selectively capture Au(III) ions, is proposed as an efficient alternative to recover gold from dilute solutions. Poly-thiosemicarbazide (PTSC), a polymer that contains one chelate site per monomeric unit, was used to fabricate the membranes. This polymer can be easily processed into membranes by a phase inversion technique, resulting in an open and interconnected porous structure suitable for high flux liquid phase applications. This method overcomes the usual low capacities of membrane adsorbents by selecting a starting material that contains the adsorption sites within it, therefore avoiding the necessity to add an external agent into the membrane matrix. The resulting mechanically stable PTSC membranes can operate in a pressure driven permeation process, which eliminates the diffusion limitations commonly present in packed column adsorption processes. This process can selectively recover 97% of the gold present in a solution containing a 9-fold higher copper concentration, while operating at a flux as high as 1868 L/m2 h. The maximum gold uptake measured without sacrificing the mechanical stability of the membrane was 5.4 mmol Au/g. Furthermore the gold can be easily eluted from the membrane with a 0.1 M thiourea solution and the membrane can be reused for at least three cycles without any decrease in its performance. Finally, the ability of this membrane for recovering metals from real-life samples, like seawater and tap water, was tested with promising results.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-104
Number of pages11
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Volume136
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Filtration and Separation
  • Analytical Chemistry

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