Atomic layer deposition surface functionalized biochar for adsorption of organic pollutants: improved hydrophilia and adsorption capacity

  • X. Wang
  • M. R. Bayan
  • M. Yu
  • D. K. Ludlow
  • X. LiangEmail author
Original Paper


Atomic layer deposition (ALD) thin film coating was applied to improve the hydrophilia of biochar derived from black willow. 2 (2Al, 0.82 wt% Al2O3), 5 (5Al, 1.40 wt% Al2O3), and 10 (10Al, 2.36 wt% Al2O3) cycles of alumina ALD were applied. The biochars were characterized by inductively coupled plasma–atomic emission spectroscopy, nitrogen adsorption and desorption, scanning electron microscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The adsorbents were utilized for the removal of methylene blue (MB) from an aqueous solution to evaluate their adsorption capacities. The 5Al biochar showed the highest adsorption capacity, compared to the uncoated biochar and other Al2O3 coated biochars, due to its improved hydrophilia. The amount of MB adsorbed onto the 5Al biochar was almost three times that adsorbed onto the uncoated biochar during the first hour of adsorption experiments. Adsorption isotherms were modeled with the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. The data fit well with the Langmuir isotherm, and the maximum adsorption capacities were found to be 26.8 and 35.0 mg/g at 25 °C for the uncoated biochar and 5Al biochar, respectively. The adsorbed MB amount per square meter achieved 1.3 mg/m2 onto the 5Al biochar, and it was twice the amount on the uncoated biochar. The experimental data were analyzed by pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order kinetics models of adsorption. The pseudo-second-order model better describes adsorption kinetic data for the uncoated biochar and 5Al biochar than the pseudo-first-order model does.


Biochar Adsorption Alumina (Al2O3Atomic layer deposition (ALD) Methylene blue (MB) Black willow 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant NSF CBET 1402122). The biochar production was supported by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “Interactions of Biochar with 2:1 Pedogenic Phyllosilicates and the Potential of Biochar Application to Improve Soil Structure in Select Soils with Claypan or Argillic Horizon in Missouri” (Project No.: MOLUBayan-2015).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 417 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. Wang
    • 1
  • M. R. Bayan
    • 2
  • M. Yu
    • 3
  • D. K. Ludlow
    • 1
  • X. Liang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringMissouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesLincoln University in MissouriJefferson CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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