Clay mineral adsorbents for heavy metal removal from wastewater: a review

  • Shiqing Gu
  • Xiaonan Kang
  • Lan Wang
  • Eric Lichtfouse
  • Chuanyi WangEmail author


Heavy metal pollution such as water contamination by Pb, Hg, Cu, Cd and Cr ions is induced by rapid urbanization and industrialization and is a major threat to human health. One of the most efficient processes to clean contaminated water is adsorption. Adsorbents such as clay minerals and modified clays are efficient for the removal of metal ions from wastewater. This manuscript reviews current research in heavy metal adsorption by clay minerals such as halloysite, bentonite, montmorillonite, vermiculite and attapulgite, from 2013 to 2017, and highlights the main adsorption mechanisms. The structure, composition and synthesis of various clay minerals and modified clays are presented.


Heavy metal removal Clays and modified clays Adsorption properties Environmental remediation 



The authors greatly appreciate financial support from the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. U1403295 and U1703129), and the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental Sciences and Technology, Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics & Chemistry, Key Laboratory of Functional Materials and Devices for Special EnvironmentsChinese Academy of SciencesÜrümqiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, INRA, Coll FranceCEREGEAix en ProvenceFrance

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