Solvent-free hydrothermal synthesis of gamma-aluminum oxide nanoparticles with selective adsorption of Congo red

J Colloid Interface Sci. 2019 Feb 15;536:180-188. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2018.10.054. Epub 2018 Oct 19.


Aluminum hydroxide and oxide have been widely used for decontamination due to their environmentally friendly nature and cost effectiveness. Aluminum (hydro) oxides are the main phases of aluminum-derived environment materials. Herein, the solvent-free hydrothermal synthesis of gamma-aluminum oxide (γ-Al2O3) nanoparticles and phase transformation of AlOOH into γ-Al2O3 are reported. Hydrothermal treatment of NH3·H2O-induced aluminum precipitate resulted in the formation of AlOOH, which was an intermediate product of γ-Al2O3. AlOOH was transformed into highly crystalline 20-nm γ-Al2O3 particles through calcination at 500 °C due to dehydration. The transformation was confirmed through X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thermogravimetric (TG) analyses. The resulting γ-Al2O3 had superior adsorption ability for the anionic Congo red (CR) dye than for the cationic methylene blue (MB) and malachite green (MG) dyes. The selective adsorption ability of CR instead of MB was attributed to the electrostatic attraction and hydrogen bonds between the amino group and azo double bond of CR, and between the amino group and hydroxyl group in γ-Al2O3. Thus, this study investigated crystalline phase transformation into γ-Al2O3 and selective adsorption capacity of CR, which provides important information regarding the synthesis of crystalline γ-Al2O3 adsorbent, with selective adsorption ability for decontamination applications.

Keywords: Adsorption; Congo red; Gamma-aluminum oxide; Phase transformation.