• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 11, No 8 (2020)

Cotton Fiber and Carbon Materials Filters for Efficient Wastewater Purification

Cotton Fiber and Carbon Materials Filters for Efficient Wastewater Purification

Title: Cotton Fiber and Carbon Materials Filters for Efficient Wastewater Purification
Natalia Politaeva, Elena Taranovskaya, Liliya Mukhametova, Svetlana Ilyashenko, Irina Atamanyuk, Rafat Al Afif, Christoph Pfeifer

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Cite this article as:
Politaeva, N., Taranovskaya, E., Mukhametova, L., Ilyashenko, S., Atamanyuk, I., Afif, R.A., Pfeifer, C., 2020. Cotton Fiber and Carbon Materials Filters for Efficient Wastewater Purification. International Journal of Technology. Volume 11(8), pp. 1608-1617

Natalia Politaeva Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg, 194021, Russia
Elena Taranovskaya Orenburg State University, Orenburg, Russian Federation, 460018
Liliya Mukhametova Kazan State Power Engineering University, Kazan, Krasnoselskaya Street, 5, 1420066, Russia
Svetlana Ilyashenko Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow, 117997, Russia
Irina Atamanyuk Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg 21073, Germany
Rafat Al Afif University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Christoph Pfeifer University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
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Cotton Fiber and Carbon Materials Filters for Efficient Wastewater Purification

Carbon materials and cotton fibers (CFs) are eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions for water purification. However, enhancing the filtration efficiency of these materials remains challenging. In this study, the capacity of heat-treated sorbents (CFs and low-temperature graphite intercalation compounds (LT-GICs)) to improve the efficiency of wastewater purification from heavy metals and petroleum compounds, was investigated. The properties of the thermally modified CFs were studied in order to obtain a material which is highly efficient in purifying wastewater from heavy metal ions (HMIs). The duration of sorption equilibrium and the optimal ratio of heat-treated cotton fibers (HTCFs) and wastewater were determined. The adsorption capacities of CFs for iodine and methylene blue were determined before and after the heat treatment. Experimental results indicated that thermal treatment of CFs resulted in increased numbers of micropores and mesopores, indicating a high sorption capacity for petroleum products (PPs) in wastewater (A = 11.5 g/g) with an efficiency score of 90%. Furthermore, LT-GIC/CF composite filters were optimized for efficient purification. The results indicated that a filter with a composition of 1 g LT-GIC + 3 g CF had the highest sorption capacity for HMIs (28.7 mg/g) and PPs (80.6%) due to its looser surface structure. The X-ray phase analysis of the sintered composite filters showed the presence of carbon in the amorphous phase, which had a similar structure to the activated carbon from black coal. In summary, the high sorption capacities and simple preparation processes of LT-GIC/CF composites make them potential candidates for wastewater purification.

Cotton fibers; Heavy metals; Low-temperature graphite intercalation compounds; Petroleum products; Wastewater purification


Sorption materials for wastewater treatment can be obtained from various production wastes. A vast variety of sorbents are produced from agricultural residues: sunflower husk, barley (Shaikhiev et al., 2010), wheat husk (Sobgaida et al., 2010), tea (Aslan et al., 2016), soybean and mustard (Humelnicu et al., 2015), leaf (Svyatchenko et al., 2020), peels (Kusrini et al., 2018), and others (Desmiarti et al., 2019; Olufemi and Eniodunm, 2018). The raw materials can be subjected to ultrasonic (Nasyrov et al., 2019) and heat treatment and exposed to acids and alkalis, thus obtaining materials with high sorptive properties at minimum costs (De Gisi et al., 2016).

Shaikhiev et al. (2010) demonstrated the possibility of using barley grain shells for removing oil and PPs from water. They showed that the modification of shells using weak solutions of sulfuric acid resulted in the removal of the hydrophilic component from the materials, which decreased water absorption by 16.5%. Consequently, the sorption capacity of these shells for oil and PPs increased by 30%.

The development of inexpensive adsorbents from plant waste to remove Cu (II) and Zn (II) ions from WW was studied by Humelnicu et al. (2015). The sorptive properties of soy bran and mustard husk were investigated. The authors examined the influence of the contact time, initial concentration of metal ions, pH, sorbent mass, and temperature on the sorption capacities of sorbent materials. Alslaibi et al. (2014) investigated the use of olive seeds to extract iron, lead, and copper ions. The use of cotton stems and apricot seeds as biosorbents of heavy metals have also been studied (Kahraman et al., 2008; Bhatnagar et al., 2015). These materials were selected for their availability and cellulose structure, which has a high sorption capacity.

Carbon-based sorbents for wastewater treatment are widely used (Perederii et al., 2009). They have high sorption capacities for HMIs and PPs (Nasyrov et al., 2017; Politaeva et al., 2017a, 2017b). Graphene is another promising material that can be employed for these purposes (Rozaini et al., 2019).

A large amount of waste is generated during the production of woven materials. Waste from weaving is stored at factory sites and then taken to landfills, involving considerable costs. Sirotkina and Novoselova (2005) treated waste from the weaving of CFs with oxidized polypropylene. These materials had sorption capacities of up to 30 g/g and were able to withstand several cycles of regeneration. The disadvantage of these materials, however, was that they were prone to microbiological degradation.

Shaikhiev (2017) investigated the possibility of using wool processing waste for wastewater purification from PPs. The use of carbon fibers in various textile forms allows the effective sorption and simultaneous filtration of gases and liquids (Mochida and Korai, 2000; Lysenko, 2007). Kharitonov et al. (2016) and Mostovoy and Yakovlev (2019) demonstrated the possibility of improving the properties of composite materials by modifying them with nanotubes (Kharitonov et al., 2016) and graphite-graphene structures (Mostovoy and Yakovlev, 2019). These additives increased the strength and porosity of the materials. Carbon-fullerene structures are highly efficient for the removal of heavy metals and PPs in wastewater treatment (Politaeva et al., 2017a, 2017b; Sobgaida et al., 2008).

Carbon materials, especially CFs, have been suggested as water purification materials due to their eco-friendly properties and cost-effectiveness (Li et al., 2017). However, enhancing the filtration efficiency of these materials remains challenging. In this study, the thermal treatment of the sorbents, CFs and LT-GICs, was investigated as a means of improving the purification efficiency of wastewater from PPs and HMIs.


This study investigated filtration materials obtained from a weaving factory. The CFs and the LT-GICs were examined as sorbents for wastewater purification from heavy metals and petroleum compounds. Their chemical and physical properties were studied. SCFs were obtained from two compositions of LT-GIC and CF. The filter comprised of 1 g LT-GIC + 3 g CF had the highest sorption capacity for HMIs (28.7 mg/g) and PPs (80.6%), as it had a looser surface structure than the other filter. Future studies will be aimed at examining the ability of the obtained filters to extract various pollutants from wastewater. Comprehensive water purification at real enterprises will be carried out.


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Germany (031B0403A) and Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (RFMEF158717X0038 agreement N14.587.21.0038 from 17.07.2017)


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