Effects of chemical modification on physicochemical properties and adsorption behavior of sludge-based activated carbon

Weijun Zhang , Chunxu Wu , Lanfeng Li , Hao Zhou , Jing Ai , Hongtao Zhang , Jialin Tao , Dongsheng Wang


Received July 13, 2020,Revised , Accepted August 09, 2020, Available online August 17, 2020

Volume 100,2021,Pages 340-352

This study aimed to explore the adsorption performance of sludge-based activated carbon (SBC) towards dissolved organic matters (DOMs) removal from sewage, and investigated the modification effect of different types of chemicals on the structure of synthesized SBC. Waste activated sludge (WAS) was used as a carbon source, and HCl, HNO3, and NaOH were used as different types of chemicals to modify the SBC. With the aid of chemical activation, the modified SBC showed higher adsorption performances on DOMs removal with maximum adsorption of 29.05 mg/g and second-order constant (k) of 0.1367 (L/mol/sec) due to the surface elution of ash and minerals by chemicals. The surface elemental composition of MSBC suggested that the content of C-C and C-O functional groups on the surface of modified sludge-based activated carbon (MSBC) played an important role on the adsorption capacities of MSBC towards DOMs removal in sewage. Additionally, the residual molecular weight of DOMs in sewage was investigated using a 3-dimension fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (3D-EEM) and high-performance size exclusion chromatography (HP-SEC). Results showed that the chemical modification significantly improved the adsorption capacity of MSBC on humic acids (HA) and aromatic proteins (APN), and both of NaOH-MSBC and HCl-MSBC were effective for a wide range of different AMW DOMs removal from sewage, while the HNO3-MSBC exhibited poorly on AMW organics of 2,617 Da and 409 Da due to the reducing content of macropore. In brief, this study provides reference values for the impact of the chemicals of the activation stage before the SBCs application.

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