Civil and Environmental Engineering


Document Type


Date of this Version



Scientific Reports | (2024) 14:6260 |


Open access.


The α-calcium sulfate hemihydrate whiskers (α-CSHWs) were first prepared using phosphogypsum (PG) and electrolytic manganese residue (EMR) as raw materials for coating urea, demonstrating excellent controlled-release properties. The effects of different reaction conditions on α-CSHWs, achieved by optimizing the reaction time, the concentrations of NH4+, Mn2+, and other factors, were discussed. Results showed that when the EMR content was 25 wt%, the reaction temperature was 100 °C, and the reaction time was 3 h, α-CSHWs with a length-to-diameter ratio of 39 were obtained. Through experiments and density functional theory (DFT), the mechanism of α-CSHWs preparation was elucidated. The results show that the addition of EMR reduces the content of impurity ions PO4 3− and F in PG while introducing NH4 + and Mn2+. Interestingly, both NH4+ and Mn2+ can reduce the nucleation time of α-CSHWs, while PO43−, Mn2+, and F are more likely to adsorb on the (0 0 6) crystal plane of α-CSHWs, NH4+ readily adsorbs on the (4 0 0) crystal plane. The controlledrelease performance of modified α-CSHWs incorporated into polyurethane-coated urea (PCU) was investigated, and it was found that the addition of Mα significantly prolonged the nutrient release period, with the period extending up to 116 days for coatings of 5wt% and above. This work not only enhances the efficiency of PG and EMR utilization but also serves as a reference for the straightforward synthesis and application of α-CSHWs.