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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 May 29;11(21):19156-19166. doi: 10.1021/acsami.9b03899. Epub 2019 May 16.

Exfoliation of Titanium Aluminum Carbide (211 MAX Phase) to Form Nanofibers and Two-Dimensional Nanosheets and Their Application in Aqueous-Phase Cadmium Sequestration.

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Department of Environmental Engineering , Kyungpook National University , 80 Daehak-ro , Buk-gu, Daegu 41566 , Republic of Korea.
Department of Agriculture Engineering , Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture , Old Shujabad Road, Multan 60000 , Pakistan.
R&D Institute of Radioactive Wastes , Korea Radioactive Waste Agency , 174 Gajeong-ro , Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34129 , Republic of Korea.


A green approach was adopted to exfoliate a Ti2AlC MAX phase. The exfoliated nanostructures (Alk-Ti2Cfibr and Alk-Ti2Csheet) with exceptional mechanical, thermal, and water stabilites, as well as abundant oxygenated active binding sites, were synthesized via a controlled hydrothermal treatment in an alkaline environment. The successful synthesis of nanofibers and sheetlike nanostructures was inferred with scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction analyses. Field emission scanning electron microscopy, field-emission transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area, ΞΆ-potential analyses, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were utilized to investigate the material's characteristics and its structural changes after metal ion adsorption. Heavy metal ion adsorption of the synthesized nanostructures was assessed in batch tests based on Cd2+ ion sequestration; the maximum adsorption capacity for Cd2+ was 325.89 mg/g, which is among the highest values reported for similar materials such as graphene oxide and its derivatives. The detailed quantitative investigation confirmed the interaction of hydroxyl groups with Cd2+ ions by electrostatic interactions, adsorption-coupled oxidation, and complex formation. Owing to their unique structure, high porosity, large specific surface area, and oxygenated functional groups, Alk-Ti2Csheet nanosheets were highly time-efficient for Cd2+ removal. Moreover, Alk-Ti2Cfibr and Alk-Ti2Csheet nanostructures were tested for simulated groundwater, showing that synthesized nanostructures were capable for removing Cd2+ ions at the ppb level. The results obtained from this study suggested that nanostructures synthesized using this route could provide a new approach to prepare and exfoliate additional MAX phases for the removal of heavy metal ions and other pollutants in the environment.


MAX phase; cadmium; nanofibers; nanosheets; nanostructures; wastewater


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