Simultaneous removal of Zn2+ and p-nitrophenol from wastewater using nanocomposites of montmorillonite with alkyl-ammonium and complexant

Guifang Wang, Huizhen Xiao, Jinliang Zhu, Hongyuan Zhao, Kun Liu, Shaojian Ma, Shuai Zhang, Sridhar Komarneni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three types of alkyl-ammonium with different branching chains and three complexants with different functional groups were used to prepare alkyl-ammonium or complexant intercalated montmorillonite nanocomposite (A-Mt or C-Mt). In addition, synergistic intercalated montmorillonite nanocomposites (A/C-Mt) with alkyl-ammonium along with complexant were also prepared. The adsorption performance of the various nanocomposites toward Zn2+ and p-nitrophenol (PNP) from simulated binary wastewater containing both Zn2+ and PNP were systematically investigated. Characterization of Mt nanocomposites showed that both alkyl-ammoniums and complexants were successfully intercalated into the interlayers of Mt. The surfactant loading amounts of the various nanocomposites were also determined and correlated with the resulting expansion of the interlayer spacing. It was found that intercalation of alkane (OTAC) and –SH (CSH) were conducive to the adsorption of Zn2+ while –C2H4NH (TETA) and all alkyl-ammoniums were beneficial for PNP adsorption. The extent of adsorption was found to be controlled primarily by pH, i.e., the higher pH had a good effect on the adsorption of both Zn2+ and PNP. The adsorption process of Zn2+ onto Mt nanocomposites was more in line with the Freundlich model (R2 = 0.99), while the Langmuir model described the adsorption of PNP well (R2 = 0.99). The adsorption kinetics could be well described by the Elovich equation (R2 = 0.98) and the double-constant model (R2 = 0.89). Chemical adsorption was determined to be the dominant process between the contaminant and Mt nanocomposite surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111496
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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