Synthesis of a highly recoverable 3D MnO2/rGO hybrid aerogel for efficient adsorptive separation of pharmaceutical residue

Billie Yan Zhang Hiew, Wan Ting Tee, Nicholas Yung Li Loh, Kar Chiew Lai, Svenja Hanson, Suyin Gan, Suchithra Thangalazhy-Gopakumar, Lai Yee Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Water contamination by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as acetaminophen, is an emerging ecological concern. In this study, a new three-dimensional manganese dioxide-engrafted reduced graphene oxide (3D MnO2/rGO) hybrid aerogel was developed for acetaminophen sequestration. The synthesis involved firstly the self-assembly of GO aerogel, followed by thermal reduction and in-situ MnO2 growth by redox-reaction. The aerogel demonstrated interlinked planes with smooth surfaces deposited with MnO2 nanospheres and pores of 138.4 – 235.3 µm width. The influences of adsorbent dosage, initial pH, acetaminophen concentration, temperature and contact time were investigated. It was determined that the adsorption of acetaminophen occurred on uniform sorption sites in the aerogel, as suggested by the best fit of data to the Langmuir isotherm, yielding a maximum adsorption capacity of 252.87 mg/g. This highest adsorption performance of the 3D MnO2/rGO aerogel was attained at a dosage of 0.6 g/L, initial pH of 6.2 and temperature of 40°C. The process kinetics were in-line with the pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order kinetics at 10 and 20 – 500 mg/L concentrations, respectively. Thermodynamic assay showed the spontaneity and endothermicity features of the 3D MnO2/rGO-acetaminophen system. The acetaminophen adsorption mechanisms were mainly hydrogen bonding and pore entrapment. Moreover, the as-synthesised aerogel was effectively regenerated using acetone and re-utilised in four adsorption-desorption cycles. Overall, the results highly recommend the implementation of the 3D MnO2/rGO hybrid aerogel for purification of wastewater polluted by acetaminophen residue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-203
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Sciences
Early online date4 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • 3D reduced graphene oxide
  • Acetaminophen
  • Adsorption
  • Adsorption mechanism
  • Manganese oxide nanoparticles
  • Regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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