Outstanding performance of hierarchical alumina microspheres for boron removal in the presence of competing ions

Xiang Yang Lou, Roberto Boada Romero*, Lucia Yohai ., Manuel Valiente Malmagro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Developing efficient materials for the removal of boron from aqueous solutions is becoming an important task to overcome boron pollution. Herein, we present hierarchical alumina microspheres (HAM) as an outstanding adsorbent, synthesized via a microwave-assisted co-precipitation method. The microstructure, morphology, and textural characterization of the HAM particles carried out by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed hollow γ-Al2O3 particles with a porous dandelion-like shape and an average size of 1.5 μm. The analysis of the adsorption data indicated that the adsorption was homogeneous in a single layer and that chemical adsorption was the controlling step in the process. The adsorption capacity obtained at an initial concentration of 800 mg·L−1 was 51.60 mg·g−1, and the theoretically calculated maximum adsorption capacity using the Langmuir model was 138.50 mg·g−1, which outperforms previously reported adsorbents. The determination of thermodynamic parameters indicated that the adsorption is an exothermic and non-spontaneous process. The XPS spectra of HAM after adsorption indicated the formation of Al-O-B bonds. Of particular interest for industrial applications, the HAM adsorbent showed excellent selectivity for boron in the presence of competing cations or anions and at different ionic strengths. In addition, HAM maintained a high adsorption capacity after five consecutive adsorption/desorption cycles. These findings highlight the potential of HAM as a highly microporous material for boron removal in real industrial applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104218
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Water Process Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • Adsorption
  • Boron
  • Competing ions
  • Gamma -phase hierarchical alumina
  • Microspheres
  • Regeneration


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