Activated carbon (AC) from gum kondagogu (GK), a natural tree gum, was prepared by a carbonization/chemical activation process. The nanocomposite fibres contain AC, poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) and GK, which were fabricated by electrospinning. The system and the process parameters of the electrospinning were optimised to obtain smooth and uniform AC-GK/PVA composite nanofibres. The composite nanofibres with a mean diameter of 250±55 nm were obtained after cross-linking with heat treatment. Hydrophobic composite nanofibres of AC-GK/PVA were created using methane plasma treatment. Various microscopic and spectroscopic characterization techniques were used to characterize the composite nanofibres. The adsorption efficiencies of both AC-GK/PVA and GK/PVA composite nanofibres were tested on toxic metal contaminants (Pb2+, Cd2+, Cu2+, Ni2+, Zn2+, total Cr and As) in an aqueous solution and were assessed quantitatively using ICP-AES and ICP-MS. The renaissance and reusability of the composite nanofibres for consecutive operation were evaluated. The large surface area to volume ratio, extremely high stability, multi-functional groups and increased hydrophobic character of the prepared AC-GK/PVA composite nanofibres were found to be the key factors for the high adsorption/removal of toxic metals contaminant from the aqueous environment.Keywords: Activated Carbon; Gum Kondagogu; Electrospun carbon nanofibres; Removal of toxic metals
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