University of Oulu

Tuula Selkälä, Terhi Suopajärvi, Juho Antti Sirviö, Tero Luukkonen, Paivo Kinnunen, Kirsten I. Kling, Jakob B. Wagner, Henrikki Liimatainen, Efficient entrapment and separation of anionic pollutants from aqueous solutions by sequential combination of cellulose nanofibrils and halloysite nanotubes, Chemical Engineering Journal, Volume 374, 2019, Pages 1013-1024, ISSN 1385-8947,

Efficient entrapment and separation of anionic pollutants from aqueous solutions by sequential combination of cellulose nanofibrils and halloysite nanotubes

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Author: Selkälä, Tuula1; Suopajärvi, Terhi1; Sirviö, Juho Antti1;
Organizations: 1Fiber and Particle Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P. O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Technical University of Denmark, DTU Nanolab, Fysikvej, Building 307, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2021-10-15


The synergistic combination of different nanomaterials for improved performance in environmental applications such as the removal of aqueous micropollutants has attracted increasing interest in recent years. This study demonstrates a novel sequential adsorption–aggregation concept that harnesses tubular halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) and flexible cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) for the removal of a small, anionic dye molecule, chrome azurol S, from water. Hollow HNTs were first allowed to interact with the aqueous dye solution, after which the dye-loaded colloidal nanotubes were aggregated and separated from the water phase with cationized CNFs. The combination of 25 mg CNFs with 1 g HNTs at pH 7 resulted in efficient removal of dye (80%) and turbidity (~100%) and the removal of dye was further promoted in more acidic conditions (within the pH range of 6–8.5) because of the attractive electrostatic interactions. Cationic CNFs not only enabled the separation of dye-loaded clay particles from the water phase through a rapid aggregation but also participated in dye removal through adsorption (~20%). In comparison with nano-sized HNTs, the dye removal performance of micro-sized and chemically similar kaolin was poor (43%). Given the good availability of both HNTs and CNFs and the low consumption of the more expensive component (i.e., CNFs) in the process, the concept is straightforward, readily applicable, environmentally benign, and potentially cost-effective.

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Series: Chemical engineering journal
ISSN: 1385-8947
ISSN-E: 1873-3212
ISSN-L: 1385-8947
Volume: 374
Pages: 1013 - 1024
DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2019.06.008
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 215 Chemical engineering
216 Materials engineering
218 Environmental engineering
221 Nanotechnology
Funding: This work was supported by the Advanced Materials Doctoral Program of the University of Oulu Graduate School and the Bionanochemicals project of the Academy of Finland [grant number298295].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 298295
Detailed Information: 298295 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license