Organic-nanoclay composite materials as removal agents for environmental decontamination
Here we overview the recent advances in the fabrication of sustainable composite nanomaterials with decontamination capacity towards inorganic and organic pollutants. In this regards, we present the development of hybrid systems based on clay nanoparticles with different shapes (such as kaolinite nanosheets and halloysite nanotubes) and organic molecules (biopolymers, surfactants, cucurbituril) as efficient removal agents for both aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. Due to their high specific surface area, clay nanoparticles have been successfully employed as fillers for composite membranes with excellent filtration capacity. The preparation of composite gel beads based on biopolymers (alginate and pectin) and halloysite nanotubes has been discussed and their adsorption capacities towards both heavy metals and organic dyes have been highlighted. We describe the successful preparation of kaolinite/graphene composites as well as tubular inorganic micelles obtained by the select functionalization of the halloysite cavity with anionic surfactants. Finally, recent research on Pickering emulsions (for oil spill remediation) and bioremediation technologies has been discussed.