Synthesis and characterization of silica gel from siliceous sands of southern Tunisia

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Abstract

The present work aimed to achieve valorization of Albian sands for the preparation of sodium silicates that are commonly used as a precursor to prepare silica gel. A siliceous sand sample was mixed with sodium carbonate and heated at a high temperature (1060°C) to prepare sodium silicates. The sodium silicates were dissolved in distilled water to obtain high quality sodium silicate solution. Hydrochloric acid was then slowly added to the hydrated sodium silicates to obtain silica gel. The collected raw siliceous sands, as well as the prepared silica gels, were characterized by different techniques, such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and thermal analysis (DSC). XRF confirmed that the detrital sand deposits of southern Tunisia contain high amounts of silica, with content ranging from 88.8% to 97.5%. The internal porosity varied between 17% and 22%, and the specific surface area was less than 5m2/g. After the treatment described above, it was observed that the porosity of the obtained silica gel reached 57% and the specific surface area exceeded 340m2/g. Nitrogen adsorption isotherms showed that the prepared silica gels are microporous and mesoporous materials with high adsorption capacities. These results suggest that the obtained silica gels are promising materials for numerous environmental applications. © 2010 .

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Sdiri, A., Higashi, T., Bouaziz, S., & Benzina, M. (2014). Synthesis and characterization of silica gel from siliceous sands of southern Tunisia. Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 7(4), 486–493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arabjc.2010.11.007

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