L. Frolova, S. Seville, S. Rogelj
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology,
Keywords: filtration, uranium, graphite, heavy metals, water cleaning
Summary:Uranium contamination in drinking water is a major health concern in some parts of the United States, including New Mexico, and many other parts of the world. To minimize health risks from uranium contamination in drinking water, an efficient uranium filtration method is highly desired. Based on our experience of organic modification of carbon surfaces, we made an organic modification of commercial graphite particles for selective uranium adsorption from natural water sources. The material is high-cost effective and very chemically stable. The modified graphite shows high selectivity toward uranium even in the presence of competing cations such as calcium and magnesium. It further demonstrates that uranium adsorption is not hindered by the presence of many other cations or by a change in the pH of the natural water samples. The adsorbed uranium can be easily released via an acidic rinse, allowing regeneration of filter columns without significant loss of uranium adsorption sites.