Removing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from water using granular activated carbon: kinetic and equilibrium adsorption studies

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2018, 25 (14), pp. 13511 - 13524
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) constitute a group of highly persistent, toxic and widespread environmental micropollutants that are increasingly found in water. A study was conducted in removing five PAHs, specifically naphthalene, acenaphthylene, acenaphthene, fluorene and phenanthrene, from water by adsorption onto granular activated carbon (GAC). The pseudo-first-order (PFO) model satisfactorily described the kinetics of adsorption of the PAHs. The Weber and Morris diffusion model’s fit to the data showed that there were faster and slower rates of intra-particle diffusion probably into the mesopores and micropores of the GAC, respectively. These rates were negatively related to the molar volumes of the PAHs. Batch equilibrium adsorption data fitted well to the Langmuir, Freundlich and Dubinin–Radushkevich models, of which the Freundlich model exhibited the best fit. The adsorption affinities were related to the hydrophobicity of the PAHs as determined by the log Kow values. Free energies of adsorption calculated from the Dubinin–Radushkevich model and the satisfactory kinetic data fitting to the PFO model suggested physical adsorption of the PAHs. Adsorption of naphthalene, acenaphthylene and acenaphthene in fixed-bed columns containing a mixture of GAC (0.5 g) + sand (24.5 g) was satisfactorily simulated by the Thomas model.
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