An acrylic acid/poly(ethylene glycol) (AAc/PEG) hydrogel was synthesized in aqueous solution by a simple one-step method using glow-discharge electrolysis plasma (GDEP) technique. The structure of AAc/PEG hydrogel was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Factors influencing the adsorption of heavy-metal ions such as solution pH, contact time, initial heavy-metal ion concentration were examined systematically by batch experiments. Results showed that both chemical complexation and ion exchange played an important role for heavy-metal ion adsorption onto AAc/PEG hydrogel. The adsorption isothermals followed the Langmuir isotherm and the adsorption kinetics fitted the pseudo-second-order model at 25°C with a pH 6. In addition, AAc/PEG hydrogel can be also regenerated and re-used.
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