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Chemical modifications of clay to remove methylene blue (MB) from aqueous solutions at room temperature were compared. Natural bentonite (NC) was modified by cation exchange with hexadecyltrimethylammonium chloride (HC), bencyltriethylammonium chloride (BC), and tetramethylammonium chloride (TC) to reverse the surface polarity of the hydrophilic bentonite. The adsorption of MB was studied and fitted by the adsorption theories of Langmuir, Freundlich, Dubinin-Radushkevich, and Temkin. Equilibrium parameters were calculated, indicating that chemical modification did not improve the adsorption, due to the electrostatic adsorption mechanism. Specific surface area was determined, reporting the following trend: NC > TC > BC > HC. Isotherms show that TC is the best modified clay for the adsorption of MB with a capacity of 217 mg/g. Adsorbents were characterized by SEM and the determination of their point zero charge, indicating a charge reversal at pH 9.5 and a heterogeneous surface that is optimum for the adsorption of molecules and ions onto their surfaces.


This article originally appeared in Environments, available at DOI: 10.3390/environments2030388

© 2015 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (



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