Characterization of carbon nano-Onions for heavy metal ion remediation

Megan B. Seymour, Chunming Su, Yang Gao, Yongfeng Lu, Yusong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Carbonaceous nanomaterials, such as fullerene C60, carbon nanotubes, and their functionalized derivatives have been demonstrated to possess high sorption capacity for organic and heavy metal contaminants, indicating a potential for remediation application. The actual application of these nanomaterials, however, is often hindered by the high cost of materials and the limited understanding of their mobility in porous media. In this work, carbon nanoonions (CNOs), a relatively new addition to the carbonaceous nanomaterials, were synthesized in a cost-effective way using a laser-assisted combustion synthesis process, and carefully characterized for their potential remediation application. Surface oxidized CNOs possessed 10 times higher sorption capacity than C60 for heavy metal ion contaminants including Pb2+, Cu2-, Cd2+, Ni2+, and Zn2+. CNOs aqueous suspension can be very stable in NaCl solution at ionic strength up to 30 mM and CaCl2 solution at ionic strength up to 4 mM CaCl 2 when pH ranged from 5 to 9, which are consistent with environmentally relevant conditions. Interactions of CNOs with iron oxide and silica surfaces under favorable condition were found to be electrostatic in origin. Mobility of CNOs in quartz sands was controlled by electrolyte type and concentration. Approximately 4.4, 25.1, and 92.5 %of injected CNO mass were retained in the sand column in ultrapure water, 1 mM NaCl, and 1 mM CaCl 2 solutions, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1087
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Carbon nano-Onions
  • Characterization
  • Heavy metal ion
  • Mobility
  • Sorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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