Author(s): Kalapathy U, Proctor A, Shultz J
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Abstract Rice hull ash (RHA) contains over 60\% silica and can be an economically viable raw material for the production of silica based products. A previously published method for producing silica xerogel involved dissolving RHA silica with alkali solution to form sodium silicate solution and subsequently forming silica aquagel by adding hydrochloric acid to lower the pH from 11.8 to 7.0, followed by washing and drying aquagel to form xerogel. The silica xerogel had over 4\% sodium as a contaminant. An improved method to produce silica xerogel with lower sodium is described in this study. The improved method involved production of silica aquagel by adding silicate solution to pH 1.5 hydrochloric, citric, or oxalic acid solutions until the pH 4.0 was reached. The aquagel was washed and dried to form silica xerogel. For comparison silica xerogels were also produced at pH 7.0 by the published method. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to determine the elemental content of silica xerogels. The silica, sodium, carbon and oxygen content of silica xerogels varied depending on the pH and the type of acid used for the production of these xerogels. Silica xerogels produced by the improved method using citric and oxalic acid had sodium content of 0.52\% and 0.22\%, respectively.
This article was published in Bioresour Technol
and referenced in Journal of Bioprocessing & Biotechniques