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Synthesis and characterization of imprinted polymers for rare earth recovery

MOJ Ecology & Environmental Sciences
Agustín Anghileri, Valeria Pozzoli, Miriam Martins Alho


This study aims to discover a novel material suitable for rare earth recycling. We explore the efficacy of a physically imprinted copolymer in sequestering cationic lanthanum from aqueous solutions. The copolymerization process with MMA, incorporating lanthanum complexes with an acrylic derivative of neocuproine, facilitates physical crosslinking. Our investigations demonstrate the copolymer’s reversible lanthanum binding capability in both batch and column experiments. At laboratory scale, the copolymer achieves an impressive lanthanum retention of approximately 760 mg/g at an initial concentration (C0) of 22 g/L in batch experiments. Regeneration of the material is achieved using HNO3 (c), inducing alterations in its physical state. Nonetheless, subsequent washing with water preserves the copolymer’s interaction capacity with lanthanum. Current efforts focus on conserving the material’s physical integrity during regeneration to enable in situ regeneration in column experiments.


rare earths, imprinted polymers, urban mining, circular economy, recycling