Surface Characterization of Mechanochemically Modified Exfoliated Halloysite Nanoscrolls


Balazs Zirska, Attila Taborosi, Peter Szabo, Robert K. Szilagyi, Erzsebet Horvath, Tatjana Juzsakova, David Fertig, Janos Kristof


Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids


Surface modifications fundamentally influence the morphology of kaolinite nanostructures as a function of crystallinity and the presence of contaminants. Besides morphology, the catalytic properties of 1:1-type exfoliated aluminosilicates are also influenced by the presence of defect sites that can be generated in a controlled manner by mechanochemical activation. In this work, we investigated exfoliated halloysite nanoparticles with a quasi-homogeneous, scroll-type secondary structure toward developing structural/functional relationships for composition, atomic structure, and morphology. The surface properties of thin-walled nanoscrolls were studied as a function of mechanochemical activation expressed by the duration of dry-grinding. The surface characterizations were carried out using N2, NH3, and CO2 adsorption measurements. The effects of grinding on the nanohalloysite structure were followed using thermoanalytical thermogravimetric/derivative thermogravimetric (TG/DTG) and infrared spectroscopic [Fourier transform infrared/attenuated total reflection (FTIR/ATR)] techniques. Grinding results in partial dehydroxylation with similar changes as those observed for heat treatment above 300 °C. Mechanochemical activation shows a decrease in the dehydroxylation mass loss and the DTG peak temperature, a decrease in the specific surface area and the number of mesopores, an increase in the surface acidity, blue shift of surface hydroxide bands, and a decrease in the intensity of FTIR/ATR bands as a function of the grinding time. The experimental observations were used to guide atomic-scale structural and energetic simulations using realistic molecular cluster models for a nanohalloysite particle. A full potential energy surface description was developed for the mechanochemical activation and/or heating toward nanometahalloysite formation that aids the interpretation of experimental results. The calculated differences upon dehydroxylation show a remarkable agreement with the mass loss values from DTG measurements.



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