• Mei Yee Chan Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment, UCSI University, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Yit Kwan Lee Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment, UCSI University, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Swee Pin Yeap Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment, UCSI University, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



Adsorption, Magnetic Iron Oxide, Nanoparticles, Quartz Sand, Separation


Adsorption has been a feasible process to remove dye molecules from water resources. However, some of the proposed adsorbents required high temperature to be synthesized or hard to be separated towards the end of their applications. Realizing this, this study aims to fabricate Fe3O4-decorated sand that does not require high temperature in production. More importantly, the attached Fe3O4 nanoparticles provide intrinsic magnetic properties to ease the subsequent separation. The ability of this adsorbent to remove methylene blue (cationic dye), tartrazine (anionic dye), and disperse yellow 3 (non-ionic dye) at different medium pHs were investigated. Results showed that the Fe3O4-decorated sand performed better in dye removal as compared to the pure sand counterpart. In specific, sand doped with 5000 mg/L of Fe3O4 successfully removed 75.01 % of methylene blue, as compared to the 68.01 % achieved by using pure sand alone. It was also found that the effectiveness of dye adsorption and desorption strongly depends on the medium pH mostly due to the amphoteric nature of the Fe3O4 nanoparticles. The desorption of methylene blue, tartrazine, and disperse yellow 3 from the adsorbent best to be done using 30 % v/v acetone, 0.1 M NaOH, and 30 % v/v ethanol, respectively. Additionally, it was found that this adsorbent can be effectively separated using either high or low gradient magnetic fields.


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