This paper reports the application of graphene oxide aerogels (GOAs) for adsorption of lead(II) ions from aqueous solutions. The aerogels were fabricated from graphene oxide (GO) colloidal suspensions by unidirectional freeze drying method. The synthesized GO powders, as well as the aerogels, were thoroughly characterized by various techniques. The experimental data showed that the kinetic of adsorption followed a pseudo-second-order model with sharp lead(II) ions uptake within the first 90 min. Kinetic data analysis revealed that the adsorption process was controlled by film diffusion mechanism. The equilibrium data were best fitted to Langmuir model and the qmax was calculated to be as high as 158 mg/g. Thermodynamic analysis demonstrated that the adsorption process was spontaneous and endothermic with increased randomness at the solid–liquid interface. Experiments showed that almost all the adsorbed ions could desorb into the solution only by decreasing the solution pH below the isoelectric point of the adsorbent. In addition to abundant oxygen containing functional groups existing on the surface of GO sheets, high porosity and surface area of the aerogel are believed to be influential factors in the adsorption process.

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