Journal of Porous Materials

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 423–432 | Cite as

Removal of perfluorooctanoic acid from water by adsorption on high surface area mesoporous materials

  • Marianna Nassi
  • Elena Sarti
  • Luisa Pasti
  • Annalisa Martucci
  • Nicola Marchetti
  • Alberto Cavazzini
  • Francesco Di Renzo
  • Anne Galarneau


Removal of perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from aqueous solution is an actual topic in light of their widespread diffusion and their persistence in the environment. The process of adsorption has been identified as an effective technique to eliminate PFAS in water, however the process efficiency strongly depends on the adsorbents employed (silica, alumina, activated carbon, layer doubled hydroxides). In this work three nanostructured mesoporous silica materials of similar pore diameter (~4 nm) featuring high surface area (~900 m2/g) and high pore volume (0.7–1.0 mL/g) were evaluated in PFOA removal: calcined MCM-41 (MCM-41c), calcined hexagonal mesoporous silica (HMSc) and HMSe obtained after ethanol extraction of the amine templates from HMS. Sorption kinetics and isotherms were performed at PFOA concentrations from 10 µg/L to 10 mg/L. It appeared that HMSe showed much faster and higher adsorption capacity for PFOA than the other tested adsorbents (MCM-41c and HMSc) whatever the pH of the solution (5 < pH < 9). Thermogravimetric analysis of HMSe evidenced that the ethanol extraction of the templating amines was not complete (70 %) and HMSe possessed some remaining hexadecylamine (HDA) (0.08 mol amine per mol SiO2) on the surface conferring some hydrophobic properties to the adsorbent and also some probable complex formation between anionic PFOA and protonated HDA. Indeed, the incomplete amine extraction is surely due to the presence of protonated HDA in strong electrostatic interactions with SiO avoiding their removal by simple ethanol extraction as for H-bonding amine with Si–OH groups. Considering both adsorption isotherms and adsorption kinetics, PFOA could be efficiently removed from contaminated water in a wide range of concentration by an environmental friendly adsorbent as HMSe.


Perfluorooctanoic acid MCM-41 HMS Mesoporous silica Pollutants adsorption Wastewater treatment 



The authors thank the MIUR (PRIN 2009-ZSC5K2_004 and PRIN 2009-8SJX4F_004) the University of Ferrara (FAR2011) and Regional Operational Programme of the European Regional Development Fund (POR FESR 2007-2013 Priority 1) for financial support.

Supplementary material

10934_2014_9788_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (152 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 152 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianna Nassi
    • 1
  • Elena Sarti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Luisa Pasti
    • 1
  • Annalisa Martucci
    • 2
  • Nicola Marchetti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Alberto Cavazzini
    • 1
  • Francesco Di Renzo
    • 4
  • Anne Galarneau
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Physics and Earth Sciences DepartmentUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  3. 3.Terra&AcquaTech LaboratoryUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  4. 4.Institut Charles Gerhardt MontpellierUMR 5253 CNRS/UM2/ENSCM/UM1, ENSCMMontpellier Cedex 5France

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