Cellulose Hydrogels for Rapid Dye Removal from Water
Clean water has become increasingly difficult to access due to the environmental discharge of pollutants. One potential solution is to develop materials that can efficiently remove pollutants from water sources through adsorption. Hydrogels have been explored for water remediation, but they often require long times to reach high levels of adsorption. To overcome this limitation, we developed a quick and locally formed hydrogel that adsorbs a common cationic dye during gel formation. Specifically, we demonstrate that hydrogels derived from cellulose – a renewable, non-toxic, and biodegradable resource – can efficiently remove methylene blue from water within seconds. We found that both sulfated cellulose nanofibers and sulfated wood pulps form localized gels when mixed with solutions containing a soluble, cationic cellulose derivative and the cationic dye. Overall, these localized hydrogels may be promising materials for remediating other water pollutants with further functionalization.