Removal of heavy metals (Co, Cr, and Zn) during calcium–aluminium–silicate–hydrate and trioctahedral smectite formation

Andre Baldermann*, Andreas Landler, Florian Mittermayr, Ilse Letofsky-Papst, Florian Steindl, Isabel Galan, Martin Dietzel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydrated aluminosilicates were synthesized with and without aqueous heavy metals (Me), such as cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), and zinc (Zn), by a sol–gel process at different initial molar ratios of Ca/(Si + Al) (0.6–1.6) and Me/Si (0.0–2.0), and constant Al/Si ratio (0.05) using equilibrium-approaching experiments. The chemical composition of the reactive solutions during aluminosilicate precipitation and maturation was monitored by ICP-OES. The mineralogy, nanostructure, and chemical composition of the precipitates were studied by XRD and high-resolution TEM. At Me/Si ratios ≤ 0.2, calcium–aluminium–silicate–hydrates (C–A–S–H) with a defect 14 Å tobermorite-like structure formed, whereas at a Me/Si ratio of 2.0, either trioctahedral Co- and Zn-smectite or amorphous Cr gels precipitated, independent of the initial Ca/(Si + Al) ratio used for gel synthesis. The immobilization capacities for Co 2 + , Cr 3 + , and Zn 2 + by C–A–S–H, Cr gel, and trioctahedral smectite are 3–40 mg/g, 30–152 mg/g, and 122–141 mg/g, respectively. The immobilization mechanism of heavy metals is based on a combination of isomorphous substitution, interlayer cation exchange, surface (ad)sorption, and surface precipitation. In engineered systems, such as underground concrete structures and nuclear waste disposal sites, hydrated aluminosilicates should exhibit a high detoxication potential for aqueous heavy metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9331-9351
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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