Environmental Science & Technology Group (ESTg), Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering, School of Engineering & Digital Sciences, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan; The Environment & Resource Efficiency Cluster (EREC), Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. Electronic address: [Email]
The physical and chemical attributes of cryogels, such as the macroporosity, elasticity, water permeability and ease of chemical modification have attracted strong research interest in a variety of areas, such as water purification, catalysis, regenerative medicine, biotechnology, bioremediation and biosensors. Cryogels have shown high removal efficiency and selectivity for heavy metals, nutrients, and toxic dyes from aqueous solutions but there are challenges when scaling up from lab to commercial scale applications. This paper represents an overview of the most recent advances in the use of cryogels for the removal of heavy metals from water and attempts to fill the gap in the literature by deepening the understanding on the mechanisms involved, which strongly depend on the initial monomer composition and post-modification agent precursors used in synthesis. The review also describes the advantages of cryogels over other adsorbents and covers synthesis and characterization methods such as SEM/EDS, TEM, FTIR, zeta potential measurements, porosimetry, swelling and mechanical properties.