Chemical Functionalization of Diatom Silica Microparticles for Adsorption of Gold (III) Ions

Yang Yu, Jonas Addai-Mensah, Dusan Losic

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    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Diatom silica microparticles from natural diatomaceous earth (DE) silica have been functionalized with 3-mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTMS) and their application for adsorption of gold (III) ions from aqueous solutions is demonstrated. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray Photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analyses of the MPTMS modified diatom microparticles revealed that the silane layer with functional group (-SH) was successfully introduced to the diatom surface. The adsorption study of Au(III) ions using MPTMS-DE indicated that the process depends on initial gold (III) concentration and pH showing maximum adsorption capacity at pH = 3. The Au(III) adsorption kinetics results showed that the adsorption was very fast and followed a pseudosecondorder reaction model. The Langmuir model was used to provide a sound mechanistic basis for the theoretical of the adsorption equilibrium data. Gold recovery from MPTMS-DE structures was also investigated by using acidified thiourea solution and found to be high (>95%). These results show that chemically modified DE microparticles can be used as a new, cost effective and environmentally benign adsorbent suitable for adsorption of gold metal ions from aqueous solutions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10349-10356
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • 3-Mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane
    • Diatomaceous earth
    • Diatoms
    • Gold adsorption


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