Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 223, Issue 5, pp 2837–2847 | Cite as

Removal of Trichloroethylene by Activated Carbon in the Presence and Absence of TiO2 Nanoparticles

  • Hafiz H. Salih
  • George A. Sorial
  • Craig L. PattersonEmail author
  • Rajib Sinha
  • E. Radha Krishnan


Nanoparticles (NPs) are emerging as a new type of contaminant in water and wastewater. The fate of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2NPs) in a granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorber and their impact on the removal of trichloroethylene (TCE) was investigated. Key parameters governing the TiO2NP–GAC interaction such as specific surface area (SSA), zeta potential, and the TiO2NP particle size distribution (PSD) were determined. The impact of TiO2NPs on TCE adsorption on GAC was tested by conducting TCE adsorption isotherm, kinetic, and column breakthrough studies in the presence and absence of TiO2NPs. SSA and pore size distribution of the virgin and spent GAC were obtained. The fate and transport of the TiO2NPs in the GAC fixed bed and their impact on TCE adsorption were found to be a function of their zeta potential, concentration, PSD, and the nature of their aggregation. The TiO2NPs under investigation are not stable in water and rapidly form larger aggregates. Due to the fast adsorption kinetics of TCE, the isotherm and kinetic studies found no effect from TiO2NPs. However, TiO2NPs attached to GAC and led to a reduction in the amount of TCE adsorbed during the breakthrough experiments suggesting a preloading pore blockage phenomenon. The analysis of the used GAC confirmed the pore blockage and SSA reduction.


Activated carbon Adsorption Nanoparticles Trichloroethylene 



This work was partially supported under Contract No. EP-C-04-034–Work Assignment No. 0-03 from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Office of Research and Development) to Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc. and by the Cooperative Agreement CR-8 3454201 between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Cincinnati.

Conflict of Interest

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, through its Office of Research and Development, funded and managed, or partially funded and collaborated in, the research described herein. It has been subjected to the Agency’s administrative review and has been approved for external publication. Any opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency; therefore, no official endorsement should be inferred. Any mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.


  1. Avramov, I. (2009). Relationship between diffusion, self-diffusion and viscosity. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 355, 745–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bach, A., Zelmanov, G., & Semiat, R. (2008). Cold catalytic recovery of loaded activated carbon using iron oxide-based nanoparticles. Water Research, 42, 163–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chapman, S. W., Parker, B. L., Cherry, J. A., Aravena, R., & Hunkeler, D. (2007). Groundwater–surface water interaction and its role on TCE groundwater plume attenuation. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 91, 203–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Daneshvar, N., Salari, D., Niaei, A., & Khataee, A. R. (2006). Photocatalytic degradation of the herbicide erioglaucine in the presence of nanosized titanium dioxide: comparison and modeling of reaction kinetics. Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part.B, Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and. Agricultural Wastes, 41, 1273–1290.Google Scholar
  5. Ding, L., Snoeyink, V. L., Mariñas, B. J., Yue, Z., & Economy, J. (2008). Effects of powdered activated carbon pore size distribution on the competitive adsorption of aqueous atrazine and natural organic matter. Environmental Science & Technology, 42, 1227–1231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. El Badawy, A. M., Luxton, T. P., Silva, R. G., Scheckel, K. G., Suidan, M. T., & Tolaymat, T. M. (2010). Impact of environmental conditions (pH, ionic strength, and electrolyte type) on the surface charge and aggregation of silver nanoparticles suspensions. Environmental Science & Technology, 44, 1260–1266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fairey, J. L., Speitel, G. E., Jr., & Katz, L. E. (2006). Impact of natural organic matter on monochloramine reduction by granular activated carbon: the role of porosity and electrostatic surface properties. Environmental Science & Technology, 40, 4268–4273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fu, J. F., Ji, M., & An, D. N. (2005). Fulvic acid degradation using nanoparticle TiO2 in a submerged membrane photocatalysis reactor. Journal of Environmental Sciences (China), 17, 942–945.Google Scholar
  9. Grolimund, D., Elimelech, M., & Borkovec, M. (2001). Aggregation and deposition kinetics of mobile colloidal particles in natural porous media. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 191, 179–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hayashi, H., & Torii, K. (2002). Hydrothermal synthesis of titania photocatalyst under subcritical and supercritical water conditions. Journal of Materials Chemistry, 12, 3671–3676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hsu, L.-Y., & Chein, H.-M. (2007). Evaluation of nanoparticle emission for TiO2 nanopowder coating materials. In A. D. Maynard & D. Y. H. Pui (Eds.), Nanotechnology and occupational health (pp. 157–163). Houten: Springer Media.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ju-Nam, Y., & Lead, J. R. (2008). Manufactured nanoparticles: an overview of their chemistry, interactions and potential environmental implications. Science of the Total Environment, 400, 396–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Karanfil, T., & Dastgheib, S. A. (2004). Trichloroethylene adsorption by fibrous and granular activated carbons: aqueous phase, gas phase, and water vapor adsorption studies. Environmental Science & Technology, 38, 5834–5841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Khataee, A. R., Vatanpour, V., & Amani Ghadim, A. R. (2009). Decolorization of C.I. Acid Blue 9 solution by UV/Nano-TiO2, Fenton, Fenton-like, electro-Fenton and electrocoagulation processes: a comparative study. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 161, 1225–1233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kilduff, J. E., Karanfil, T., & Weber, W. J., Jr. (1998). TCE adsorption by GAC preloaded with humic substances. Journal of American Water Works Association, 90, 76–89.Google Scholar
  16. Kim, S., Collins, L. B., Boysen, G., Swenberg, J. A., Gold, A., Ball, L. M., Bradford, B. U., & Rusyn, I. (2009). Liquid chromatography electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry analysis method for simultaneous detection of trichloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, S-(1,2-dichlorovinyl)glutathione and S-(1,2-dichlorovinyl)-l-cysteine. Toxicology, 262, 230–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Klaine, S. J. (2008). Manomaterials in the environmental: behavior, fate, bioavailability, and effects. Environmental Toxicology, 27, 1825–1851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li, Q., Snoeyink, V. L., Campos, C., & Marinas, B. J. (2002). Displacement effect of NOM on atrazine adsorption by PACs with different pore size distributions. Environmental Science & Technology, 36, 1510–1515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Li, Q., Snoeyink, V. L., Marinas, B. J., & Campos, C. (2003). Pore blockage effect of NOM on atrazine adsorption kinetics of PAC: the roles of PAC pore size distribution and NOM molecular weight. Water Research, 37, 4863–4872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Link, D. D., Walter, P. J., & Kingston, H. M. (1998). Development and validation of the new EPA microwave-assisted Leach Method 3051A. Environmental Science & Technology, 32, 3628–3632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liu, Y., Yang, S., Hong, J., & Sun, C. (2007). Low-temperature preparation and microwave photocatalytic activity study of TiO2-mounted activated carbon. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 142, 208–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nel, A., Xia, T., Mädler, L., & Li, N. (2006). Toxic potential of materials at the nanolevel. Science, 311, 622–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Okawa, K., Suzuki, K., Takeshita, T., & Nakano, K. (2007). Regeneration of granular activated carbon with adsorbed trichloroethylene using wet peroxide oxidation. Water Research, 41, 1045–1051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pan, B., & Xing, B. (2010). Manufactured nanoparticles and their sorption of organic chemicals. In L. S. Donald (Ed.), Advances in agronomy (pp. 137–181). St. Louis: Elsevier, Academic Press.Google Scholar
  25. Park, Y., Huang, R., Corti, D. S., & Franses, E. I. (2010). Colloidal dispersion stability of unilamellar DPPC vesicles in aqueous electrolyte solutions and comparisons to predictions of the DLVO theory. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 342, 300–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pelekani, C., & Snoeyink, V. L. (1999). Competitive adsorption in natural water: role of activated carbon pore size. Water Research, 33, 1209–1219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Roskamp, M., Schaper, A. K., Wendorff, J. H., & Schlecht, S. (2007). Colloidal CdS/SiO2 nanocomposite particles from charged colloids of CdS and silica. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2007, 2496–2499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Russell, H.H. (1992). TCE removal from contaminated soil and ground water [electronic resource]/Hugh H. Russell, John E. Matthews, and Guy W. Sewell, [Ada, Okla.]: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response: Superfund Technology Support Center for Ground Water, Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Laboratory.Google Scholar
  29. Savage, N., & Diallo, M. S. (2005). Nanomaterials and water purification: opportunities and challenges. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 7, 331–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Snoeyink, V. L. K., & Summers, S. R. (1999). Adsorption of organic compounds. In R. D. Letterman (Ed.), Water quality and treatment: a handbook of community water supplies (pp. 13-11–13-85). New York: American Water Works Association, McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  31. Sorial, G. A., Suidan, M. T., Vidic, R. D., & Brenner, R. C. (1993). Effect of GAC characteristics on adsorption of organic pollutants. Water Environment Research, 65, 53–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sorial, G. A., Papadimas, S. P., Suidan, M. T., & Speth, T. F. (1994). Competitive adsorption of vocs and bom-oxic and anoxic environments. Water Research, 28, 1907–1919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tada, H., Nishio, O., Kubo, N., Matsui, H., Yoshihara, M., Kawahara, T., Fukui, H., & Ito, S. (2007). Dispersion stability of TiO2 nanoparticles covered with SiOx monolayers in water. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 306, 274–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tielemans, M., Roose, P., Groote, P. D., & Vanovervelt, J.-C. (2006). Colloidal stability of surfactant-free radiation curable polyurethane dispersions. Coatings Science International Conference Program, 55, 128–136.Google Scholar
  35. USEPA (1996). The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).Google Scholar
  36. USEPA (2007). Technical factsheet on: trichloroethylene. USEPA pp.
  37. Wilmanski, K., & van Breemen, A. N. (1990). Competitive adsorption of trichloroethylene and humic substances from groundwater on activated carbon. Water Research, 24, 773–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Xu, C., & Teja, A. S. (2008). Characteristics of iron oxide/activated carbon nanocomposites prepared using supercritical water. Applied Catalysis A: General, 348, 251–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yue, Z., & Economy, J. (2005). Nanoparticle and nanoporous carbon adsorbents for removal of trace organic contaminants from water. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 7, 477–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zdravkov, B., Čermák, J., Šefara, M., & Janků, J. (2007). Pore classification in the characterization of porous materials: a perspective. Central European Journal of Chemistry, 5, 385–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hafiz H. Salih
    • 1
  • George A. Sorial
    • 1
  • Craig L. Patterson
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rajib Sinha
    • 3
  • E. Radha Krishnan
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Engineering Program, School of Energy, Environmental, Biological, & Medical Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied ScienceUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.USEPACincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc.CincinnatiUSA

Personalised recommendations