Clay minerals are effective adsorbents for the remediation of pesticides in wastewater due to their large superficial areas and excellent cation-exchange capabilities. However, this adsorption effect can be reduced by the accumulation of adsorbents on clay minerals, amongst other problems. Therefore, in this study, montmorillonite (Mnt) modified by layered double hydroxide (LDH) with different loading amounts was successfully prepared using an in situ method. The results from X-ray diffraction, Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry, Brunauer–Emmet–Teller (BET) and scanning electron microscopy analyses revealed that LDH structures were successfully combined with the Mnt layer and formed a porous structure. However, excess LDH still caused the aggregation and accumulation of layers. The adsorption performance of LDH@Mnt for atrazine (ATZ) and paraquat (PQ) was investigated, and the removal efficiency of the LDH@Mnt composite was higher than those of Mnt and LDH alone. The kinetic study revealed that the adsorption process fitted the pseudo-second-order model and internal diffusion model, and 3-LDH@Mnt had the greatest absorbability efficiency for both ATZ and PQ, indicating the adsorption process was controlled by the number of active sites of the adsorbent. The generalized Langmuir model accurately characterized the adsorption process of ATZ and PQ elimination in the adsorption isotherm investigation, indicating that the adsorption energies of the active sites on the adsorbents were different. 3-LDH@Mnt had better absorbability performance for ATZ/PQ, and the sorption capacities were 7.03 and 91.9 mg g–1, respectively. According to site energy distribution theory, the amount of sorption sites of the composite adsorbent was large and the average adsorption energy was high, both of which being beneficial for the adsorption of ATZ and PQ. The effects of pH, coexisting anions and reuse experiments were also tested, indicating that the LDH@Mnt composite possessed high adsorption stability. This excellent removal performance represents a promising strategy for the remediation and elimination of pesticide contaminations from the environment.

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