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Enhanced Potential Toxic Metal Removal Using a Novel Hierarchical SiO2–Mg(OH)2 Nanocomposite Derived from Sepiolite

1
School of Chemistry and Materials Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
2
CAS Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and Environments, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
3
School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, Xi’an 710021, China
4
CAS Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, Hefei 230026, China
5
Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(5), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9050298
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomineralogy)
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Abstract

Clays are widely used as sorbents for heavy metals due to their high specific surface areas, low cost, and ubiquitous occurrence in most soil and sediment environments. However, the low loading capacity for heavy metals is one of their inherent limitations. In this work, a novel SiO2–Mg(OH)2 nanocomposite was successfully prepared via sequential acid–base modification of raw sepiolite. The structural characteristics of the resulting modified samples were characterized by a wide range of techniques including field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and nitrogen physisorption analysis. The results show that a hierarchical nanocomposite constructed by loading the Mg(OH)2 nanosheets onto amorphous SiO2 nanotubes can be successfully prepared, and the nanocomposite has a high surface area (377.3 m2/g) and pore volume (0.96 cm3/g). Batch removal experiments indicate that the nanocomposite exhibits high removal efficiency toward Gd(III), Pb(II), and Cd(II), and their removal capacities were greatly enhanced in comparison with raw sepiolite, due to the synergistic effect of the different components in the hierarchical nanocomposite. This work can provide a novel route toward a hierarchical nanocomposite by using clay minerals as raw material. Taking into account the simplicity of the fabrication route and the high loading capacities for heavy metals, the developed nanocomposite also has great potential applications in water treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: hierarchical nanocomposite; sepiolite; clay mineral; heavy metals; water treatment hierarchical nanocomposite; sepiolite; clay mineral; heavy metals; water treatment
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Yao, Q.-Z.; Yu, S.-H.; Zhao, T.-L.; Qian, F.-J.; Li, H.; Zhou, G.-T.; Fu, S.-Q. Enhanced Potential Toxic Metal Removal Using a Novel Hierarchical SiO2–Mg(OH)2 Nanocomposite Derived from Sepiolite. Minerals 2019, 9, 298.

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