Dispersed ZrO2 nanoparticles in MCM-48 with high adsorption activity



A new two-step synthesis of ZrO2-MCM nanocomposites using the gel combustion technique was accomplished; the resulting material had a high-surface area and showed very high adsorption activity. The deposition of 2–5 nm ZrO2 particles over MCM was achieved using gel combustion technique with glycine as a fuel, and the formation of nanocomposites was confirmed using transmission electron microscopy. The composites were also characterized by XRD, SEM, FTIR and N2 adsorption-desorption analysis. The nanocomposites were tested for the adsorption of cationic dyes. High rates of adsorption and large dye uptake were observed over the nanocomposites. The rate of adsorption over the nanocomposites was higher than that observed for physical ZrO2-MCM mixtures and commercial activated carbon. The nanocomposite with 10 wt % ZrO2 showed the highest rate of adsorption owing to the synergistic effects of ZrO2 surface groups, smaller particle size, fine dispersion and high-surface area of the composite. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 58: 2987–2996, 2012