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  • Superparamagnetic Composite Particles with Specific Surface Modifications for the Continuous Separation of Heavy Metal Ions from Water (PARAMAGSEP)


Superparamagnetic composite particles are particles in a mu m- or sub mu m-range with embedded iron oxide nanoparticles. These composite particles are magnetised under the influence of a magnetic field, but lose their magnetisation when the magnetic field is switched off.
The objective of the PARAMAGSEP-project was to develop a new continuous flow magnetic separation technology for the cleaning of waste water using surface modified SPMC in order to remove hazardous heavy metal ions from waste water.
The general approach for the material and process development was the use of wet chemical routes for the synthesis and processing of nm-scaled particles and stabilized suspensions of iron oxide particles. These magnetic particles could then be transferred into composite particles by enclosure in a silica matrix. The following surface modification with metal ion-complexing agents led to a re-suspendable material which was able to act as a magnetic separation material with a variable selectivity and capacity for hazardous heavy metal ions in waste water. The selectivity and capacity of the obtained superparamagnetic composite particles still have potential for further development.
After complexation and separation of the ion-loaded SPMC, the complex could be loosened by a change in pH or in ionic environment. By this route, a separation of heavy metal ions from waste water could be shown. The separated heavy metal ions could be either disposed in a highly concentrated form or they ccould be recovered by different state-of-the-arttechniques.
The project ended up in a bench-scale demonstrator unit with complexation, separation, decomplexation and recovering or recycling of raw materials.
The results of the project will be used by HIMTECH, IET, ARCON MINES Limited and Carlow Radiators Ltd. to improve the effectiveness of their own waste treatment procedure and to improve the environmental aspects of this technology by recycling or recovering of raw materials.

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