3D hierarchical flower-like Mg–Al-layered double hydroxides (Mg–Al-LDHs) were synthesized by a simple solvothermal method in a mixed solution of ethylene glycol (EG) and water. The formation mechanism of the flower-like Mg–Al-LDHs was proposed. After calcination, the flower-like morphology could be completely preserved. With relatively high specific surface areas, Mg–Al-LDHs and calcined Mg–Al-LDHs with 3D hierarchical nanostructures were tested for their application in water purification. When tested as adsorbents in As(V) and Cr(VI) removal, the as-prepared calcined Mg–Al-LDHs showed excellent performance, and the adsorption capacities of calcined Mg–Al-LDHs for As(V) and Cr(VI) were better than those of Mg–Al-LDHs. The adsorption isotherms, kinetics and mechanisms for As(V) and Cr(VI) onto calcined Mg–Al-LDHs were also investigated. The high uptake capability of the as-prepared novel 3D hierarchical calcined Mg–Al-LDHs make it a potentially attractive adsorbent in water purification. Also, this facile strategy may be extended to synthesize other LDHs with 3D hierarchical nanostructures, which may find many other applications due to their novel structural features.
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