China-based researchers design new method to pre-enrich uranium in seawater using graphene oxide


Researchers from the Institute of Modern Physics (IMP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in collaboration with teams from the Chinese University of Lanzhou and the University of Hebei, have developed a method to graphene oxide based pre-enrichment of uranium in seawater by membrane filtration. .

In their study, the scientists fabricated a new type of composite glycine cross-linked graphene oxide (GO-Gly) membrane with good ion sieving properties, which can meet the requirements of uranium pre-enrichment in Seawater.

According to the researchers, the cross-linking of GO by glycine not only overcomes the swelling defect of the GO membrane in solution, but also meets the requirement of the channel size for separation of uranium from major coexisting ions. In addition, the membrane structure can remain stable when immersed in aqueous solution for a long time.

Next, the researchers investigated the ion rejection and enrichment properties of uranium and major coexisting ions in single ion solutions and simulated seawater, respectively. It was found that nearly 100% of the uranium was rejected by the GO-Gly membrane. Moreover, only uranium was obviously enriched while the concentrations of the main coexisting ions remained almost constant by continuously filtering the simulated seawater with the membrane.

The results confirm that the GO-Gly membrane is a good candidate for the pre-enrichment of uranium in seawater. This new method combined with traditional methods has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of uranium recovery. uranium and promote the actual application of uranium resources in seawater.


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