Environmental Earth Sciences

, 78:614 | Cite as

Batch experiments to investigate the effect of colloidal silica on benzene adsorption

  • Shengyu Wu
  • Wenjing ZhangEmail author
  • Yan Zhang
  • Zhuo Wang
  • Jingqiao Li
  • Juanfen Chai
Original Article


Benzene is one of the most harmful compounds in groundwater. In the groundwater environment, adsorption plays a major role in benzene attenuation. In this study, laboratory experiments were conducted using jars to systematically investigate the effect of benzene adsorption under static conditions. Experiments were conducted using colloidal silica, which is representative of colloids in groundwater. In the single benzene system, more benzene was adsorbed at high than low pH because of the reduction in available H+ to compete with benzene for adsorption with increased pH. In addition, more benzene was adsorbed at high than low ionic strengths (ISs), because the presence of metal cations neutralized more negative charges and weakened the electrostatic interaction between benzene and the media. In the benzene-colloidal silica system, the presence of colloidal silica accelerated benzene adsorption, because colloidal silica can attach to the surface of the porous media and act as additional sites for adsorption while also enhancing the adsorption capacity of the C–H bonds. As the pH increased, the particle size of the colloidal silica also increased, which increased the colloidal silica adsorption capacity of benzene. As ISs increased, the colloidal silica became more unstable, and colloidal silica could easily attach to the surface of the porous media, enabling more benzene to be adsorbed. However, in the presence of colloidal silica, the effects of pH and ISs on benzene adsorption are not obvious and colloidal silica plays a leading role in benzene adsorption. Colloidal silica promotes benzene adsorption, primarily because it provides sites for adsorption and has a higher affinity for benzene than the surfaces of the porous media. This allows the porous media to rapidly adsorb benzene until reaching the saturation point, which has a much stronger effect on benzene adsorption than hydro-chemical conditions.


Benzene Colloidal silica Adsorption Groundwater 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41472215, 41877175) and the 111 Project [B16020]. The authors appreciate the editors and reviewers who provided valuable advice that greatly improved this paper. We thank Jeremy Kamen, MSc, from Liwen Bianji, Edanz Group China (, for editing the English text of a draft of this manuscript.


  1. Amin MM, Bina B, Majd AMS, Pourzamani H (2014) Benzene removal by nano magnetic particles under continuous condition from aqueous solutions. Front Environ Sci Eng 8(3):345–356Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson TJ (2009) A review of the role of benzene metabolites and mechanisms in malignant transformation: summative evidence for a lack of research in nonmyelogenous cancer types. Int J Hyg Environ Health 212(1):1–10Google Scholar
  3. Azizian S (2004) Kinetic models of sorption: a theoretical analysis. Colloid Interface 276(1):47–52Google Scholar
  4. Bradford SA, Yates SR, Bettahar M, Simunek J (2002) Physical factors affecting the transport and fate of colloids in saturated porous media. Water Resour Res 38(12):61–63Google Scholar
  5. Chakraborty R, O’Connor SE, Coates JD (2005) Anaerobic degradation of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene compounds by Dechloromonas strain RCB. Appl Environ Microbiol 71(12):8649–8655Google Scholar
  6. Deng J, Zhang X, Zeng G, Gong J, Niu Q (2013) Simultaneous removal of Cd(II) and ionic dyes from aqueous solution using magnetic graphene oxide nanocomposite as an adsorbent. Chem Eng J 226(8):189–200Google Scholar
  7. Farmanzadeh D, Valipour A (2018) Adsorption of benzene and toluene molecules on surface of pure and doped cadmium oxide nanosheets: a computational investigation. Appl Surf Sci 450:509–515Google Scholar
  8. Higgo JJW, Williams GM, Harrison I, Warwick P, Gardiner MP, Longworth G (1993) Colloid transport in a glacial sand aquifer Laboratory and field studies. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng Aspects 73(93):179–200Google Scholar
  9. Jirapongphan SS, Warzywoda J, Budil DE, Sacco A Jr (2006) Simulation of benzene adsorption in zeolite HY using supercage-based docking. Microporous Mesoporous Mater 94(1–3):358–363Google Scholar
  10. Johnson SJ, Woolhouse KJ, Prommer H, Barry DA, Christofi N (2003) Contribution of anaerobic microbial activity to natural attenuation of benzene in groundwater. Eng Geol 70(3):343–349Google Scholar
  11. Kim SB, Kim DJ, Yun ST (2006) Attenuation of aqueous benzene in soils under saturated flow conditions. Environ Technol 27(1):33–40Google Scholar
  12. Kretzschmar R, Borkovec M, Grolimund D, Elimelech M (1999) Mobile subsurface colloids and their role in contaminant transport. Adv Agron 66(08):121–193Google Scholar
  13. Kumar MS, Sivasankar V, Gopalakrishna GVT (2017) Quantification of benzene in groundwater sources and risk analysis in a popular South Indian Pilgrimage City—a GIS based approach. Arab J Chem 10:S2523–S2533Google Scholar
  14. Li X, Zhang W, Qin Y, Ma T, Zhou J, Du S (2018) Fe–colloid cotransport through saturated porous media under different hydrochemical and hydrodynamic conditions. Sci Total Environ 647:494–506Google Scholar
  15. Liang X, Liu D, Zhou J, Zhang Y, Zhang W (2018) Effects of colloidal humic acid on the transport of sulfa antibiotics through a saturated porous medium under different hydrochemical conditions. Water Supply 18(6):2199–2207Google Scholar
  16. Liu D, Zhou J, Zhang W, Huan Y, Yu X, Li F, Chen X (2016) Column experiments to investigate transport of colloidal humic acid through porous media during managed aquifer recharge. Hydrogeol J 25(1):79–89Google Scholar
  17. Liu SH, Lai CY, Ye JW, Lin CW (2018a) Increasing removal of benzene from groundwater using stacked tubular air-cathode microbial fuel cells. J Cleaner Prod 194:78–84Google Scholar
  18. Liu Z, Zhou C, Ontiveros-Valencia A, Luo Y, Long M, Xu H, Rittmann B (2018b) Accurate O2 delivery enabled benzene biodegradation through aerobic activation followed by denitrification-coupled mineralization. Biotechnol Bioeng 115(11):1988–1999Google Scholar
  19. Mohammadi L, Bazrafshan E, Noroozifar M, Ansari-Moghaddam A, Barahuie F, Balarak D (2017) Adsorptive removal of benzene and toluene from aqueous environments by cupric oxide nanoparticles: kinetics and isotherm studies. J Chem 2017(1):10Google Scholar
  20. Nales M, Butler BJ, Edwards EA (1998) Anaerobic benzene biodegradation: a microcosm survey. Bioremediat J 2(2):125–144Google Scholar
  21. Pang L, Lafogler M, Knorr B, Mcgill E, Saunders D, Baumann T, Abraham P, Close M (2016) Influence of colloids on the attenuation and transport of phosphorus in alluvial gravel aquifer and vadose zone media. Sci Total Environ 550:60–68Google Scholar
  22. Reis GSD, Adebayo MA, Sampaio CH, Lima EC, Thue PS, Brum IASD, Dias SLP, Pavan FA (2017) Removal of phenolic compounds from aqueous solutions using sludge-based activated carbons prepared by conventional heating and microwave-assisted pyrolysis. Water Air Soil Pollution 228(1):33Google Scholar
  23. Saucier C, Karthickeyan P, Ranjithkumar V, Lima EC, Reis GSD, Brum IASD (2017) Efficient removal of amoxicillin and paracetamol from aqueous solutions using magnetic activated carbon. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24(6):5918–5932Google Scholar
  24. Sojitra I, Valsaraj KT, Reible DD, Thibodeaux LJ (1996) Transport of hydrophobic organics by colloids through porous media. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng Aspects 110(2):141–157Google Scholar
  25. Sophia CA, Lima EC (2017) Removal of emerging contaminants from the environment by adsorption. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 150:1Google Scholar
  26. Su F, Lu C, Hu S (2010) Adsorption of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and p-xylene by NaOCl-oxidized carbon nanotubes. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng Aspects 353(1):83–91Google Scholar
  27. Thomas B, Peter F, Thorsten K, Reinhard N (2006) Colloid and heavy metal transport at landfill sites in direct contact with groundwater. Water Res 40(14):2776–2786Google Scholar
  28. Waals MJVD, Pijls C, Sinke AJC, Langenhoff AAM, Smidt H, Gerritse J (2018) Anaerobic degradation of a mixture of MtBE, EtBE, TBA, and benzene under different redox conditions. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 102(7):3387–3397Google Scholar
  29. Wang Z, Zhang W, Li S, Zhou J, Liu D (2016) Transport of silica colloid through saturated porous media under different hydrogeochemical and hydrodynamic conditions considering managed aquifer recharge. Water 8(12):555Google Scholar
  30. Zhang T, Ge J, Hu Y, Qiao Z, Alon I, Yin Y (2008) Formation of hollow silica colloids through a spontaneous dissolution-regrowth process. Angewandte Chemie-Int Ed 47(31):5806–5811Google Scholar
  31. Zhang W, Li S, Wang S, Lei L, Yu X, Ma T (2017) Transport of Escherichia coli phage through saturated porous media considering managed aquifer recharge. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25(7):6497–6513Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shengyu Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenjing Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yan Zhang
    • 3
  • Zhuo Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jingqiao Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juanfen Chai
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Groundwater Resources and Environment, Ministry of EducationJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.College of New Energy and EnvironmentJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Earth Fissures Geological DisasterMinistry of Education Land and Resources, Geological Survey of Jiangsu ProvinceNanjingChina

Personalised recommendations