• adsorption;
  • ion–molecule reactions;
  • nanoparticles;
  • polymers;
  • silver


Electroconductive poly(N-butylaniline)–lignosulfonate (PBA–LS) composite nanospheres were prepared in a facile way by in situ, unstirred polymerization of N-butylaniline with lignosulfonate (LS) as a dispersant and dopant. The LS content was used to optimize the size, structure, electroconductivity, solubility, and silver ion adsorptive capacity of the PBA–LS nanospheres. Uniform PBA–LS10 nanospheres with a minimal mean diameter of 375 nm and high stability were obtained when the LS content was 10 wt %. The PBA–LS10 nanospheres possess an increased electroconductivity of 0.109 S cm−1 compared with that of poly(N-butylaniline) (0.0751 S cm−1). Furthermore, the PBA–LS10 nanospheres have a maximal silver-ion sorption capacity of 815.0 mg g−1 at an initial silver ion concentration of 50 mmol L−1 (25 °C for 48 h), an enhancement of 70.4 % compared with PBA. Moreover, a sorption mechanism of silver ions on the PBA–LS10 nanospheres is proposed. TEM and wide-angle X-ray diffraction results showed that silver nanoparticles with a diameter size range of 6.8–55 nm was achieved after sorption, indicating that the PBA–LS10 nanospheres had high reductibility for silver ions.