A novel hydrogel composite based on gellan gum and graphene oxide (GG/GO) was synthesized, characterized and tested for sorption capacity in this work. The microstructural, thermogravimetric and spectroscopic analysis confirmed the formation of the GG/GO composite. Comparative batch sorption experiments revealed a sorption capacity of the GG/GO composite for Zn (II) ions of approximately 2.3 higher than that of pure GG. The GG/GO composite exhibits a maximum sorption capacity of 272.57 mg/g at a pH of Zn (II) initial solution of 6. Generally, the sorption capacity of the sorbents is approximately 1.5 higher in slightly acidic conditions (pH 6) comparative with that for strong acidic conditions (pH 3). The sorption isotherms revealed that the sorption followed a monolayer/homogenous behavior. The sorption kinetic data were well fitted by the pseudo-second-order kinetic model, and were consistent with those derived from sorption isotherms. The intraparticle diffusion was considered to be the rate-determining step. Two main sorption mechanisms for Zn (II) were identified namely, ion exchange at low pH values, and both ion exchange and chemisorption in weekly acidic conditions.
Keywords: gellan gum; graphene oxide; hydrogel composite; zinc sorption.