A zero-waste approach to blast furnace slag by synthesis of mesoporous nanosilica with high surface area

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Nanosilica has a number of properties that pose advantages in a range of applications. In this study, we performed a series of experiments to prepare nanosilica particles from blast furnace slag. The collected samples were initially treated using nitric acid to remove insoluble silica, and the influence of various key factors on the silica extraction efficiency was examined. The optimum values of liquid-to-solid ratio, temperature, leaching time, and acid concentration were 2.3:1, 120 °C, 90 min, and 50%, respectively. Optimal silica nanoparticles were obtained via filtration and modification using cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide, a cationic surfactant. The specific surface area (SBET) of unmodified silica was 303.83 m2/g, while that of silica particles modified with cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide increased to 1506 m2/g, corresponding to ultrafine particles. In addition, this research was performed using a waste by-product and then converted it into a high-quality, valuable product, which can help to mitigate the significant environmental problems caused by blast furnace slag waste in both China and Pakistan. This study may be used as a reference for nanosilica particle preparation from blast furnace slag.

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Change history

  • 17 September 2019

    The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake in Figure 1.


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We are thankful for the kind and timely cooperation of Beijing National Center for Electron Microscopy (BNEM) at Tsinghua University.

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Correspondence to H. Fakhar.

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Editorial responsibility: Fatih ŞEN.

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Fakhar, H., Jiang, J. A zero-waste approach to blast furnace slag by synthesis of mesoporous nanosilica with high surface area. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 17, 309–318 (2020).

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  • Acid dissolution process
  • Blast furnace slag
  • Cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide
  • Nanosilica