Efficient Uranium Capture by Polysulfide/Layered Double Hydroxide Composites

Shulan Ma, Lu Huang, Lijiao Ma, Yurina Shim, Saiful M. Islam, Pengli Wang, Li Dong Zhao, Shichao Wang, Genban Sun, Xiaojing Yang, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

397 Scopus citations


There is a need to develop highly selective and efficient materials for capturing uranium (normally as UO22+) from nuclear waste and from seawater. We demonstrate the promising adsorption performance of Sx-LDH composites (LDH is Mg/Al layered double hydroxide, [Sx]2- is polysulfide with x = 2, 4) for uranyl ions from a variety of aqueous solutions including seawater. We report high removal capacities (qm = 330 mg/g), large KdU values (104-106 mL/g at 1-300 ppm U concentration), and high % removals (>95% at 1-100 ppm, or ∼80% for ppb level seawater) for UO22+ species. The Sx-LDHs are exceptionally efficient for selectively and rapidly capturing UO22+ both at high (ppm) and trace (ppb) quantities from the U-containing water including seawater. The maximum adsorption coeffcient value KdU of 3.4 × 106 mL/g (using a V/m ratio of 1000 mL/g) observed is among the highest reported for U adsorbents. In the presence of very high concentrations of competitive ions such as Ca2+/Na+, Sx-LDH exhibits superior selectivity for UO22+, over previously reported sorbents. Under low U concentrations, (S4)2- coordinates to UO22+ forming anionic complexes retaining in the LDH gallery. At high U concentrations, (S4)2- binds to UO22+ to generate neutral UO2S4 salts outside the gallery, with NO3- entering the interlayer to form NO3-LDH. In the presence of high Cl- concentration, Cl- preferentially replaces [S4]2- and intercalates into LDH. Detailed comparison of U removal efficiency of Sx-LDH with various known sorbents is reported. The excellent uranium adsorption ability along with the environmentally safe, low-cost constituents points to the high potential of Sx-LDH materials for selective uranium capture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3670-3677
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 18 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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