Mechanistic insights into Cu(Ⅱ) removal from aqueous solution by Camellia oleifera shell–reduced graphene oxide

  • Shanshan Jiang

Student thesis: MRes Thesis


The Cu(II) pollution in aquatic environment is becoming a severe health challenge due to its non-biodegradable nature. In this study, for the first time, reduced graphene oxide (rGO) was prepared by Camellia oleifera shell (COS) extract in a low-cost and environmentally friendly way and successfully applied for the removal of Cu(II) ion from aqueous solutions. An 85.7% removal efficiency was achieved when the initial concentration of Cu(II) was 10 mg/L with a COS-reduced graphene oxide (COS-rGO) dosage of 0.5 g/L, pH of 5.1, and experimental temperature of 20 °C. To propose a mechanism for the removal of Cu(II) using the COS-rGO, characterization tests as well as thermodynamic and kinetics analyses of the COS-rGO adsorption of Cu(II) were systematically performed. The following major inferences were derived from the results of this study: i) The adsorption of Cu(II) using COS-rGO obeyed pseudo-second-order kinetics as a spontaneous endothermic reaction. ii) According to the results of characterization by using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD), it was confirmed that the removal of Cu(II) by COS-rGO was a result of chemical adsorption following a rate-controlled process and Langmuir model was applied to this adsorption process. Therefore, it can be expected that the green synthesis of COS-rGO has potential to be a cost-effective adsorbent for removing Cu(II) from water, which has excellent prospects for waste utilization and pollutant reduction.
Date of AwardMar 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
SupervisorJun He (Supervisor) & Yong Sun (Supervisor)


  • Cu(II)
  • Reduced graphene oxide
  • Camellia oleifera shell
  • Green synthesis
  • Adsorption

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