Efficient recovery and recycling/upcycling of precious metals using hydrazide-functionalized star-shaped polymers

Seung Su ShinJung, YoungkyunSungkwon JeonSung-Joon ParkSujin YoonJung, Kyung WonChoi, Jae WooJung-Hyun Lee
Issue Date
Nature Publishing Group
Nature Communications, v.15, pp.1 - 12
There is a growing demand for adsorption technologies for recovering and recycling precious metals (PMs) in various industries. Unfortunately, amine-functionalized polymers widely used as metal adsorbents are ineffective at recovering PMs owing to their unsatisfactory PM adsorption performance. Herein, a star-shaped, hydrazide-functionalized polymer (S-PAcH) is proposed as a readily recoverable standalone adsorbent with high PM adsorption performance. The compact chain structure of S-PAcH containing numerous hydrazide groups with strong reducibility promotes PM adsorption by enhancing PM reduction while forming large, collectable precipitates. Compared with previously reported PM adsorbents, commercial amine polymers, and reducing agents, S-PAcH exhibited significantly higher adsorption capacity, selectivity, and kinetics toward three PMs (gold, palladium, and platinum) with model, simulated, and real-world feed solutions. The superior PM recovery performance of S-PAcH was attributed to its strong reduction capability combined with its chemisorption mechanism. Moreover, PM-adsorbed S-PAcH could be refined into high-purity PMs via calcination, directly utilized (upcycled) as catalysts for dye reduction, or regenerated for reuse, demonstrating its high practical feasibility. Our proposed PM adsorbents would have a tremendous impact on various industrial sectors from the perspectives of environmental protection and sustainable development.
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