Due to industrialization and urbanization, heavy metals are found in trace elements everywhere. They are commonly found in the waste waters of industrial companies. Four of the major contributing industries are dye, pharmaceutical, paint and textile (Lokhande 2011). Some common heavy metals that have adverse effects are lead, cadmium,mercury, copper, chromium and zinc . These metals pose detrimental effects on both humans and animals. Copper, for example, is found to be the second most toxic metal for marine and aquatic animals (Vlascici 2013). The conventional methods used for the detection of heavy metals are mostly done in laboratories. This is because common techniques utilized for detection like UV–Vis spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) require hefty and expensive equipment. These types of equipment are harder to use in field setting (Vlascici 2013). This offers an inexpensive and portable alternative method of detection, and maximize the use of readily available resources.
The study aims to develop a paper based electrode that can detect heavy metals. Specifically, it aims to:
Prepare nanolayers of polyaniline (PANI) coating to Cladophora cellulose
Fabricate a working electrode using the PANI coated cellulose.
Optimize the efficiency and accuracy of the fabricated electrode for detection of heavy metals.
There is a need for a cheap and rapid detection of heavy metals. This study offers a simple, inexpensive and portable way to detect heavy metals by fabricating an electrode from algae cellulose. Utilization of this algae, provides a better use for a water pollutant.