Textile & Clothing

Separation of uranyl ions from leachate and groundwater using uranophilic calixarenes

Modified calixarenes can be permanently bonded to polyester fabric. The resulting filter material is capable of the selective removal of uranium from water systems on a long-term basis. Consequently, even the cost-effective decontamination of small areas will be feasible.

Summary

Prior to its collapse, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was a large-scale producer of fissile uranium.  High levels of heavy metal and radionuclide contamination are to be found in the soils and groundwater surrounding abandoned production facilities.  Small-scale decontamination projects (< 20 m3/h) generate a high demand for low-maintenance clean-up technologies which do not require continuous monitoring and control.

The object of this research project was the development of a new type of process for the selective removal of uranium from pit water, leachate and groundwater using supramolecular compounds, namely, calixarenes.  To this end, it was necessary to identify polymer materials which could be used as carriers for the permanent surface bonding of calixarenes, thereby allowing the selective concentration of uranium.

Results:

  • Investigations have shown that synthesised calixarenes are capable of the selective removal of uranium from water systems.
  • Calixarenes can be modified in such a way that they will bond permanently to polyester fabric.  The application of calixarenes to the filter material is completed in the same way as the dyeing of polyester with dispersion dyestuffs.
  • The calixarene-modified polyester fabric has proved to be stable over long periods.  The fabric can be regenerated by extraction using dilute mineral acids.

More Project Information

Project title: Integrated environmental protection in the textile industry: separation of uranyl ions from leachate and groundwater using uranophilic calixarenes

Project number: 0339916/6 (Teilvorhaben 1), 0339917/3 (Teilvorhaben 2), 0339918/5(Teilvorhaben 3), 0339919/6(Teilvorhaben 4)

Project period: 01.02.2000 - 30.04.2003

Project contact:

Herr Dr. Buschmann
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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)