Sepiolite as an effective natural porous adsorbent for surface oil-spill

Dikla Zadaka-Amir, Nimrod Bleiman, Yael G. Mishael*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The adsorption of oil, spilled on a surface, by a variety of mineral sorbents was investigated. Edible oil adsorption was low (mg oil/m2 clay) on motmorillonite, high on sepiolite and extremely high on talc, suggesting that the magnitude of adsorption correlates with clay hydrophobicity. Despite the high adsorption on talc the efficiency (g oil/g clay) of the clay to remove the oil was low, reaching 60% removal, while complete oil removal was achieved by sepiolite and only 45% by montmorillonite. XRD, SEM and FTIR measurements support the suggestion that high oil loadings on sepiolite indicated adsorption mainly on external surfaces as multilayers accompanied by desorption of water. The adsorption of hydraulic oil spilled on a road pavement by a variety of mineral sorbents was studied. As found in the case of the edible oils, the most efficient (g oil/g clay) sorbent was high quality sepiolite reaching complete adsorption while, oil removal by two organo-clays only reached 50%. On a lower quality sepiolite oil adsorption increased from 84% to 97% upon preheating the clay up to approximately 300 °C, explained in terms of water loss. However, adsorption on the clay treated at 400 °C decreased non-dramatically, strengthening our suggestion that the oil can penetrate into the sepiolite tunnels but most of the adsorption is on the external surfaces in multilayers. Oil adsorption by the high quality sepiolite was nearly complete even at an oil/sorbent ratio of 6 (w/w) indicating the potential of this sorbent for oil removal.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2013


  • Hydraulic oil
  • Oil adsorption
  • Oil spill
  • Sepiolite


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