Metal oxide encapsulated by 3D graphene oxide creates a nanocomposite with enhanced organic adsorption in aqueous solution

Han Fu, Haotian Cai, Kimberly A. Gray*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The presence of organic contaminants (OCs) in aquatic systems is a threat to ecological and human health. Adsorption by graphene-based adsorbent is a promising technique for OC removal and we previously fabricated crumpled graphene balls (CGBs), via a novel nano-spray drying technique, which show robust adsorptive performance. Yet, since CGBs contain non-accessible surface area due to 2D graphene stacking, the goal of this research was to investigate the efficacy of maximizing the accessible CGB surface by synthesizing a nanocomposite composed of metal oxide nanoparticles encapsulated by crumpled graphene oxide (MGC). The metal oxides reduce graphene oxide stacking, expand the internal adsorptive surface area, and boost the adsorptive capacity of the MGC. MGC (fumed SiO2 or SiO2) exhibit an enhanced Langmuir adsorption capacity (qm, normalized by the % carbon) for an OC model, methylene blue (MB), achieving improvements of 60–86% compared to CGB, 3–4 fold compared to powder activated carbon (PAC) and 6–7 fold compared to granular activated carbon (GAC). MGCs display rapid adsorption reaching equilibrium after 9–12 min of contact and remaining stable in wastewater effluent /surface water. A cost-efficiency comparison reveals MGCs achieve one ton of MB removal at similar or lower material costs than that of PAC/GAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number130340
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Feb 15 2023


  • 3D graphene-based nanocomposite
  • Encapsulating materials
  • Metal oxide-graphene oxide nanocomposite
  • Nano-spray drying synthesis
  • Organic adsorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Metal oxide encapsulated by 3D graphene oxide creates a nanocomposite with enhanced organic adsorption in aqueous solution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this