Sorption and transformation of 1-naphthol by a K-smectite (K-SWy-2) were studied using batch sorption isotherms, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The sorbents included three preparations of the reference smectite clay (SWy-2): (1) whole clay containing naturally occurring carbonate impurities, (2) SWy-2 with the removal of carbonate impurities, and (3) the carbonate-free SWy-2 fraction amended with calcite. For the whole clay and carbonate-free clay amended with calcite, >80% of added 1-naphthol disappeared from aqueous solution within 24 h, corresponding to a sorbed concentration of ≥2 mg/g of clay. In contrast, only 35% of the added 1-naphthol disappeared from solution in the carbonate-free clay after 24 h of exposure. For the clays from the three preparations in this study, <1% of sorbed 1-naphthol could be recovered by methanol extraction from the clays. The XRD data suggested that 1-naphthol was intercalated in the smectite, but was not conclusive because the 1-naphthol sorption range (1.5–2.8 mg/g of clay) in this study had relatively minor effects on the XRD patterns. The FTIR spectra of sorbed 1-naphthol-clay complexes demonstrated structural Fe3+ reduction. The spectra also showed evidence of the transformation of 1-naphthol. It suggests that reduction of structural Fe3+ may be coupled to oxidation/polymerization of 1-naphthol. Further transformation of oxidized 1-naphthol, such as by oxidative coupling reactions, is implicated by formation of a dark gray color on the clay and the inability to extract sorbed 1-naphthol.

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