Fabrication and characterization of a novel nanoporous nanoaerogel based on gelatin as a biosorbent for removing heavy metal ions


In this research, we proposed a synthesis of nano-silica aerogel (NSA, S1–S3) and nano-silica aerogel gelatin (NSA-G, S4–S6), which were hybrid aerogel by sol–gel method via ambient pressure drying. The aerogels’ backbone was modified by montmorillonite (MMT) in NSA and for NSA-G gelatin (G) and MMT were used to stabilize their building block. Also, free hydroxyl groups on their surface were changed to TMS-O and became more hydrophobic aerogels. The porosity results showed that the density of the optimum aerogels (S2 and S5) ranged from 0.084 to 0.047 g/cm3. It was also found that the hydrophobicity of the NSA-G aerogel decreased with increasing the content of gelatin into the silica aerogels. However, these aerogels were fully characterized by FTIR, FESEM, EDS, XRD, BET, and TGA/DTA analysis and they used as the adsorbent of Cu2+ and Ni2+ ions in aqueous media. The prepared aerogels effectively could remove these heavy metals from the aqueous media and NSA-G absorbent also illustrated a favorable result for adsorption. Also, the recyclability test for four adsorption–desorption of aerogels cycles was examined and they had a good effect even after the fourth cycle.


  • The novel NSA and NSA-G as effective adsorbents were successfully prepared.

  • The adsorbents exhibited high sorption capacity for adsorbing Cu2+ and Ni2+ ions.

  • TGA/DTG of NSA-G exhibiting more thermal resistance in compare to NSA.

  • FESEM result indicating more compact structure for NSA-G with size 46–77 nm.

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The authors extend their appreciation to the Azad University of Arak-Iran for financial support of this work.

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Correspondence to Mohammad Sadeghi.

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Nematidil, N., Nezami, S., Mirzaie, F. et al. Fabrication and characterization of a novel nanoporous nanoaerogel based on gelatin as a biosorbent for removing heavy metal ions. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-020-05439-0

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  • Nanoaerogel
  • TEOS
  • Gelatin
  • Heavy metals