Two kinds of amorphous aluminum hydroxides, a sample precipitated from admixing AlCl3 and NaOH aqueous solutions and the commercial product, were measured by 27Al and 1H solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Pentahedral and tetrahedral coordinations, as well as octahedral coordination of oxygen atoms for aluminum, are observed in 27Al magic angle spinning (MAS) spectra of both amorphous samples. In contrast, octahedral coordination is only observed in gibbsite, bayerite, and boehmite. According to 1H MAS-NMR spectra under conditions of high spinning rate (35 kHz) and high field (14.09 T), free waters and OH groups coupled with aluminum for amorphous samples are observed at ∼5 and ∼4.5 ppm, respectively, the latter peak being broader. This is consistent with the differential spectra between spin echo and transfer of populations in double resonance. We conclude that the subunits of AlO4, AlO5, and AlO6 in amorphous aluminum hydroxides are bound through hydrogen bonds with a wide distribution of bonding strength.
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