The removal of toxic and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from water is one of the most intractable environmental problems nowadays, because of their resistance to remediation. This work introduces a highly efficient, regenerable membrane for the removal of PAHs from water, featuring excellent filter performance and pH-driven release, thanks to the integration of a cavitand receptor in electrospun polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fibers. The role of the cavitand receptor is to act as molecular gripper for the uptake/ release of PAHs. To this purpose, the deep cavity cavitand BenzoQxCav is designed and synthetized and its molecular structure is elucidated via X-Ray diffraction. The removal efficiency of the new adsorbent material toward the 16 priority PAHs is demonstrated via GC-MS analyses at ng L−1 concentration. A removal efficiency in the 32%, to 99% range is obtained. The regeneration of the membrane is performed by exploiting the pH-driven conformational switching of the cavitand between the vase form, where the PAHs uptake takes place, to the kite one, where the PAHs release occurs. The absorbance and regeneration capability of the membrane are successfully tested in four uptake/release cycles and the morphological stability.
Reusable Cavitand‐Based Electrospun Membranes for the Removal of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Water / Amorini, Mattia; Riboni, Nicolò; Pesenti, Lucia; Dini, Valentina Antonia; Pedrini, Alessandro; Massera, Chiara; Gualandi, Chiara; Bianchi, Federica; Pinalli, Roberta; Dalcanale, Enrico. - In: SMALL. - ISSN 1613-6810. - 17(2021), pp. 2104946.1-2104946.8. [10.1002/smll.202104946]
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