Ion imprinted polymer material (IIP) was prepared by forming ternary complexes of uranyl imprint ion with 1-(prop-2-en-1-yl)-4-(pyridin-2-ylmethyl)piperazine and methacrylic acid followed by thermal copolymerization with ethylene glycol dimethacrylate as the cross-linking monomer in the presence of 1,1′-azobis(cyclohexanecarbonitrile) initiator and 2-methoxy ethanol porogenic solvent. HCl solution (5 mol/L) was used to leach out the uranyl template ion from the IIP particles. Similarly, the control polymer (CP) material was also prepared exactly under the same conditions as the IIP but without the uranyl ion template. Various parameters such as solution pH, initial concentration, aqueous phase volume, sorbent dosage, contact time and leaching solution volumes were investigated. SEM, IR and BET-surface area and pore size analysis were used for the characterization of IIP and CP materials. The extraction efficiency of the IIP and CP was compared using a batch and SPE mode of extraction. The optimal pH for quantitative removal is 4.0–8.0, sorbent amount is 20 mg, contact time is 20 min and the retention capacity is 120 mg of uranyl ion per g of IIP. The IIP prepared demonstrated superior selectivity towards coexisting cations and therefore it can be used for selective removal of uranium from complex matrices.

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