Adsorption of Se (IV) and Se (VI) Using Copper-Impregnated Activated Carbon and Fly Ash-Extracted Char Carbon
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Surface and groundwater are often contaminated with toxic anions such as arsenic and selenium. Because of their large surface areas, selenium adsorption on carbon sorbents is considered an attractive water treatment technique. In this present work, selenium sorption on copper-impregnated activated carbon and fly ash-extracted char carbon was evaluated. Unburned carbon was extracted from fly ash using froth floatation techniques, and the carbon sorbents were modified using copper ions. Adsorption experiments confirmed the strong influence of electrostatic forces on equilibrium uptakes of selenite (Se (IV)) and selenate (Se (VI)). Selenium sorption on virgin char carbon was maximum only at acidic pH, i.e., at pH < pHpzc (pH at point of zero charge). Upon copper modification of the carbon surface, the pHpzc shifted towards the alkaline region, and as a result, the positive charge density on the carbon surface increased. At pH > pHpzc, a two- to fourfold increase in sorption coverage and threefold increase in selenium percent removal was observed. Se (IV) sorption was higher compared to Se (VI) sorption. The effect of selenium concentrations and competing anions was studied to evaluate adsorbent performance. The order of maximum surface coverage followed the order: modified char carbon > modified activated carbon > char carbon. The main mechanism of selenium (Se) sorption appeared to be (1) electrostatic attraction of the Se ions to the modified carbon surface at acidic to neutral pH; (2) complexation of Se ions with the copper ions/oxides on the carbon surface; and (3) co-precipitation with copper hydroxides at alkaline pH.
KeywordsActivated carbon Char carbon Copper impregnation Selenium Adsorption
The authors acknowledge the financial assistance and laboratory analysis provided by the Department of Water Resources, San Joaquin Valley, CA, for this research.
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