Gels. 2023 Jul 30;9(8):618. doi: 10.3390/gels9080618.
Inorganic arsenic in drinking water from groundwater sources is one of the potential causes of arsenic-contaminated environments, and it is highly toxic to human health even at low concentrations. The purpose of this study was to develop a magnetic adsorbent capable of removing arsenic from water. Fe3O4-monolithic resorcinol-formaldehyde carbon xerogels are a type of porous material that forms when resorcinol and formaldehyde (RF) react to form a polymer network, which is then cross-linked with magnetite. Sonication-assisted direct and indirect methods were investigated for loading Fe3O4 and achieving optimal mixing and dispersion of Fe3O4 in the RF solution. Variations of the molar ratios of the catalyst (R/C = 50, 100, 150, and 200), water (R/W = 0.04 and 0.05), and Fe3O4 (M/R = 0.01, 0.03, 0.05, 0.1, 0.15, and 0.2), and thermal treatment were applied to evaluate their textural properties and adsorption capacities. Magnetic carbon xerogel monoliths (MXRF600) using indirect sonication were pyrolyzed at 600 °C for 6 h with a nitrogen gas flow in the tube furnace. Nanoporous carbon xerogels with a high surface area (292 m2/g) and magnetic properties were obtained. The maximum monolayer adsorption capacity of As(III) and As(V) was 694.3 µg/g and 1720.3 µg/g, respectively. The incorporation of magnetite in the xerogel structure was physical, without participation in the polycondensation reaction, as confirmed by XRD, FTIR, and SEM analysis. Therefore, Fe3O4-monolithic resorcinol-formaldehyde carbon xerogels were developed as a potential adsorbent for the effective removal of arsenic with low and high ranges of As(III) and As(V) concentrations from groundwater.