Fe-MoS4: An Effective and Stable LDH-Based Adsorbent for Selective Removal of Heavy Metals

Zhuqi Chen, Ali Jawad, Zhuwei Liao, Zhihua Zhou, Aimal Khan, Ting Wang, Jerosha Ifthikar, Ajmal Shahzad, Zhulei Chen

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


It has always been a serious challenge to design efficient, selective, and stable absorbents for heavy-metal removal. Herein, we design layered double hydroxide (LDH)-based Fe-MoS4, a highly efficient adsorbent, for selective removal of heavy metals. We initially synthesized FeMgAl-LDH and then enriched its protective layers with MoS42- anions as efficient binding sites for heavy metals. Various characterization tools, such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), CHN analysis, and inductively coupled plasma analysis, were applied to confirm structural and compositional changes during the synthesis of Fe-MoS4 as final product. The prepared Fe-MoS4 offered excellent attraction for heavy metals, such as Hg2+, Ag+, Pb2+, and Cu2+, and displayed selectivity in the order Hg2+ ∼ Ag+ > Pb2+ > Cu2+ > Cr6+ > As3+ > Ni2+ ∼ Zn2+ ∼ Co2+. The immense capacities of Hg2+, Ag+, and Pb2+ (583, 565, and 346 mg/g, respectively), high distribution coefficient (Kd ∼ 107-108), and fast kinetics place Fe-MoS4 on the top of materials list known for removal of such metals. The sorption kinetics and isothermal studies conducted on Hg2+, Ag+, Pb2+, and Cu2+ suit well pseudo-second-order kinetics and Langmuir model, suggesting monolayer chemisorption mechanism through M-S linkages. XRD and FTIR studies suggested that adsorbed metals could result as coordinated complexes in LDH interlayer region. More interestingly, LDH structure offers protective space for MoS42- anions to avoid oxidation under ambient environments, as confirmed by XPS studies. These features provide Fe-MoS4 with enormous capacity, good reusability, and excellent selectivity even in the presence of huge concentration of common cations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28451-28463
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • adsorption
  • complexation mechanism
  • Fe-MoS LDH
  • heavy-metal removal
  • wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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