Nano-structured magnesium oxide coated iron ore: Its application to the remediation of wastewater containing lead

Ranjini Nagarajah, Min Jang, Saravanan Pichiah, Jongman Cho, Shane A. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetically separable nano-structured magnesium oxide coated iron ore (IOMgO) was prepared using environmentally benign chemicals, such as iron ore (IO), magnesium(II) nitrate hexahydrate [Mg(NO3)2 · 6H2O] and urea; via an easy and fast preparation method. The IOMgO was characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), energydispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and alternating gradient magnetometer (AGM) analyses. The isotherm and kinetic studies indicated that IOMgO has a comparably higher Langmuir constant (KL, 1.69 L mg-1) and maximum sorption capacity (33.9 mg g-1) for lead (Pb) than other inorganic media. Based on MgO amount, the removal capacity of Pb by IOMgO was 2,724 mg Pb (g MgO)-1, which was higher than that (1,980 mg g-1) for flowerlike magnesium oxide nanostructures reported by Cao et al. The kinetics, FE-SEM, elemental mapping and XRD results revealed that the substitution followed by precipitation was identified as the mechanism of Pb removal and plumbophyllite (Pb2Si4O10 ·H2O) was the precipitated phase of Pb. A leaching test revealed that IOMgO had negligible concentrations of leached Fe at pH 4-9. Since the base material, IO, is cheap and easily available, IOMgO could be produced in massive amounts and used for remediation of wastewater containing heavy metals, applying simple and fast magnetic separation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9603-9611
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Adsorption
  • Heavy metals
  • Magnetically separable magnesium oxide
  • Magnetization
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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