The goal of our project was to develop an experimental solution to environmental pollution and to analyze the sustainability of the process.
We used a synthetic clay named Na-SAP-20, a mineral which possesses ion exchange properties which allow it to recover heavy metals and other pollutants from bodies of water.
The method we developed was tested on Co2+, a material recognized as ‘critical’ due to its uses in a range of industrial, sustainable and technological applications, and on Cr3+ which is a common polluting agent found in freshwater.
The material absorption capacities have been analyzed by spectrophotometry UV-VIS, ICP-MS and NMR-relaxometry; we compared the results obtained with these analytical techniques focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of each one.This is how I came up with the idea for this project:
The presence of heavy metals in freshwater is a really dangerous form of pollution, unfortunately, currently used purification methods require a complicated synthesis and rather high costs. We wanted to develop an accessible method in order to recover and recycle dangerous metals in a sustainable way.