Investigation of lithium sorption efficiency using SWCNT functionalized electrospun fiber mats from the hypersaline geothermal brine
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Geothermal mining from brines becomes increasingly important with the increasing demand for rare earth elements in various engineering applications. Geothermal fluids contain valuable minerals and metals such as silica, zinc, lithium, and other materials that can be processed to recover these products. Solution mining by nature is challenging because of variable composition as well as the concentration of the interfering ions, particularly calcium and magnesium, and the presence of interfering ions increases the recovery costs requiring additional steps. The aim of this study is the fabrication of single-walled carbon nanotube functionalized electrospun chitosan, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fiber mats. Effect of polymer type, dilution factor, and surface modification on the sorption of lithium (Li+) ions was investigated. The maximum sorption performance was obtained with SWCNT functionalized PAN (15 wt%) fiber mats and they have sorption percentage as 55% at diluted (1/100) brine samples.