In order to increase the adsorption capacities of bentonite, sepiolite, and illite for the removal of boron form aqueous solution, the clay samples were modified by nonylammonium chloride. Specific surface areas of the samples were determined as a result of N-2 adsorption-desorption at 77 K using the BET method. X-ray powder diffraction analysis of the clays and modified clays was used to determine the effects of modifying agents on the layer structure of the clays. The surface characterization of clays and modified clay samples was conducted using the FTIR technique before and after the boron adsorption. For the optimization of the adsorption of boron on clays and modified clays, the effect of pH and ionic strength was examined. The results indicate that adsorption of boron can be achieved by regulating pH values in the range of 8-10 and high ionic strength. In order to find the adsorption characteristics, Langmuir, Freundlich, and Dubinin-Radushkevich adsorption isotherms were applied to the adsorption data. The data were well described by Freundlich and Dubinin-Radushkevich adsorption isotherms while the fit of Langmuir equation to adsorption data was poor. It was reached that modification of bentonite and illite with nonylammonium chloride increased the adsorption capacity for boron sorption from aqueous solution. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.