In the present study, porous alumina/silica materials were prepared by selective leaching of silicon/aluminum constituents from thermal-activated kaolinite in inorganic acid or alkali liquor. The correlations between the characteristics of the prepared porous materials and the dissolution properties of activated kaolinite were also investigated. The results show that the specific surface area (SSA) of porous alumina/silica increases with silica/alumina dissolution, but without marked change of the BJH pore size. Furthermore, change in pore volume is more dependent on activation temperature. The porous alumina and silica obtained from alkali leaching of kaolinite activated at 1150 °C for 15 min and acid leaching of kaolinite activated at 850 °C for 15 min are mesoporous, with SSAs, BJH pore sizes and pore volumes of 55.8 m2
/g and 280.3 m2
/g, 6.06 nm and 3.06 nm, 0.1455 mL/g and 0.1945 mL/g, respectively. According to the adsorption tests, porous alumina has superior adsorption capacities for Cu2+
compared with porous silica and activated carbon. The maximum capacities of porous alumina for Cu2+
are 134 mg/g, 183 mg/g and 195 mg/g, respectively, at 30 °C.
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