Synthesis of Mesoporous Silica Xerogel from Geothermal Sludge using Sulfuric Acid as Gelation Agent

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science, Sebelas Maret University, Surakarta, Indonesia

2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia

3 aDepartment of Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Sebelas Maret University, Surakarta, Indonesia

4 Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Sebelas Maret University, Surakarta, Indonesia

5 Department of Chemical Engineering, Institut Teknologi Kalimantan, Balikpapan, Indonesia


A large amount of sludge is produced by the geothermal brine at the Dieng Geothermal power plant, exceeding 165 tons per month. This sludge is generally not utilized, except for use in landfills. The precipitate (sludge) is primarily composed of silica. The aim of this research is to synthesis mesoporous silica (SiO2) xerogel from geothermal sludge (GS) and to investigate the effects of pH as an effort to elevate the economic value of sludge through alkaline extraction followed by acidification. SiO2 xerogel was prepared by extracting the GS to become sodium silicate (Na2SiO3) assisted by a base NaOH and precipitated using H2SO4 as a gelation agent. The FTIR analysis of the SiO2 xerogel showed a group of silanol (Si-OH) and siloxane (Si-O-Si). The XRD analysis indicated that SiO2 xerogel was amorphous. Furthermore, it was observed from nitrogen absorption-desorption using BET (Breneur-Emmet-Teller) method test that decreased pH tends to the specific surface area increase, and the pore size becomes decrease. The largest specific surface area observed at SiO2 xerogel prepared at pH of 5.5 reached 400.10 m2/g with a pore size of 4.5 nm. The pore sized for all cases was in the range of 4 ~12 nm, indicating that the SiO2 xerogels were mesoporous. Pore size of the as-prepared silica affected the thermal stability property of the sample.


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