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Cr(VI) adsorption performance and mechanism of an effective activated carbon prepared from bagasse with a one-step pyrolysis and ZnCl2 activation method

  • Xiaogang LuoEmail author
  • Yixin Cai
  • Liming Liu
  • Jian Zeng
Original Research


The utilization of bagasse as a raw material to prepare activated carbon adsorbents is an effective way to solve the water pollution problem, while achieving the goal of treating waste simultaneously. An effective activated carbon-based adsorbent was prepared from sugar cane bagasse with a one-step method of pyrolysis and ZnCl2 activation for efficient Cr(VI) removal from water. Morphology, physicochemical properties and structure of the adsorbent samples were studied by Scanning Electron Microscope, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy, X-ray Diffraction, N2 adsorption and desorption, Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy. The batch and fixed bed adsorption experiments were adopted to confirm the one-step preparation of pyrolysis and ZnCl2 during the activation process and to investigate the adsorption mechanism of Cr(VI). The maximum adsorption capacity was 80.880 mg g−1, while the adsorption behavior fitted better with Freundlich equation and pseudo-second-order kinetics. These results confirmed that chemical adsorption is the strongest adsorption interaction during the adsorbing process of Cr(VI), and the adsorbents could effectively capture Cr(VI) to form monodentate and bidentate complexes.

Graphical abstract


Sugar cane bagasse Carbonization Activated carbons Cr(VI) 

List of symbols


Brunauer–Emmett–Teller surface area (m2 g−1)


Micropore volume (cm3 g−1)


Average pore diameter (nm)


Initial concentration of Cr(VI) (mg L−1)


Equilibrium concentration of Cr(VI) (mg L−1)


Maximum adsorption capacity of Cr(VI) per unit mass of ZBAC (mg g−1)


Weight of the adsorbent (g)


Volume of Cr(VI) solution (L)


Bed height in fixed bed column adsorption


Amounts of Cr(VI) adsorbed at contact time (mg g−1)


Amounts of Cr(VI) adsorbed at equilibrium time (mg g−1)


Rate constant for first order kinetic (min−1)


Rate constant for second order kinetic (g mg−1 min−1)


Initial adsorption rate (g mg−1 min−1)


Correlation coefficient


Langmuir adsorption constant (L mg−1)


Dimensionless constant separation factor


Freundlich constant which indicates the adsorption capacity


Freundlich constant which related to the adsorption strength of the adsorbent


Polanyi potential


Constant of the adsorption energy (mol2 kJ−2)


Rate constant of the intraparticle diffusion (mg g−1 min−1/2)


Adsorption energy (kJ mol−1)


pH at point of zero charge



This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51773159, 51303142), the Science and Technology Planning Program of Guangdong (No. 2015A010105018), and Special fund of Guangdong academy of Science (No. 2016GDASPT-0108).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10570_2019_2418_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Tables S1–S4: Pseudo-first-order kinetic parameters of Cr(VI) removal; Pseudo-second-order kinetic parameters of Cr(VI) removal; Intraparticle diffusion kinetic parameters of Cr(VI) removal; Constant parameter and correlation coefficients calculated for various adsorption models at different temperatures for Cr(VI). (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical Engineering and PharmacyWuhan Institute of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Provincial Bioengineering Institute (Guangzhou Sugarcane Industry Research Institute)Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Sugarcane Improvement and Bio-refineryGuangzhouChina

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