Comparison of analytical techniques for analysis of arsenic adsorbed on carbon

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Journal Article
Water Quality Research Journal of Canada, 2006, 41 (2), pp. 185 - 189
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Activated carbon (AC) has been used extensively to treat arsenic-contaminated groundwater for a number of years. To date, attempts to quantify directly the amount of arsenic removed by the activated carbon using nondestructive methods has been limited. High-energy ion beam based proton induced x-ray emission (PIXE) is ideally suited to investigate the issues regarding the quantification of trace metals in solids. In this study, after the adsorption of arsenic on activated carbon, arsenic concentration in granular activated carbon (GAC) and powder activated carbon (PAC) were quantified using Pixe. The PIXE results were compared with atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) measurements. Some differences are observed between these measurements. The differences are greater in the case of GAC compared to PAC. These differences are mainly due to the inhomogeneous structure of GAC and PAC, which includes the variable surface properties such as surface area and pore sizes in each granule or particle. The larger differences are mainly due to the increased particle dimensions of GAC compared to PAC and the nature of the internal pore structure of GAC, which results in different amounts of arsenic adsorbed on different granules of GAC or even in different regions of one granule. This inhomogeneity of arsenic concentration is clearly visible in the arsenic concentration map generated for a single GAC particle using microbeam PIXE. Copyright © 2006, CAWQ.
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