A fiber-based adsorbent and a related method of manufacture are provided. The fiber-based adsorbent includes polymer fibers with grafted side chains and an increased surface area per unit weight over known fibers to increase the adsorption of dissolved metals, for example uranium, from aqueous solutions. The polymer fibers include a circular morphology in some embodiments, having a mean diameter of less than 15 microns, optionally less than about 1 micron. In other embodiments, the polymer fibers include a non-circular morphology, optionally defining multiple gear-shaped, winged-shaped or lobe-shaped projections along the length of the polymer fibers. A method for forming the fiber-based adsorbents includes irradiating high surface area polymer fibers, grafting with polymerizable reactive monomers, reacting the grafted fibers with hydroxylamine, and conditioning with an alkaline solution. High surface area fiber-based adsorbents formed according to the present method demonstrated a significantly improved uranium adsorption capacity per unit weight over existing adsorbents.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.