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Adsorption of C(n)TABr surfactants on activated carbons
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
2013 (English)In: Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, ISSN 0927-7757, Vol. 436, 62-70 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cationic surfactants of the quaternary ammonium bromide type C(16)TABr, C(14)TABr, C(12)TABr, and C(10)TABr were adsorbed from aqueous solutions onto three different types of activated carbons and compared with the adsorption of the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate. The concentrations of both cationic and anionic surfactants in aqueous solutions were determined by UV spectroscopy. In the case of anionic surfactants, a linear dependence of UV absorbance on the surfactant concentration at 200 nm can be related to the benzene fragment of the molecule. The UV sensitivity of C(n)TABr solutions is controlled by the hydration of bromide counterions, the electron dense nature of bromine, and a charge-transfer-to-solvent phenomenon. Changes in the textural properties of the activated carbons after adsorption of surfactants were studied by N-2 adsorption and mercury intrusion porosimetry, and could be correlated to surface characteristics and adsorptive capacity. The mechanism of adsorption was found to be complex, but the porous structure of the carbon exerted a critical role and the cationic surfactants were adsorbed step-by-step. At low surfactant concentrations, adsorption occurred in micropores. We conclude that surfactants are adsorbed as individual molecules. Adsorption from more concentrated solutions occurs in meso- and macropores, and resembles surfactant adsorption on flat carbon surfaces. The carbons display somewhat different tendencies to adsorb C(n)TABr. Activated carbons with small pores of 0.56-0.77 nm appear to be most effective for surfactant removal. A negative electrostatic potential on the interface of the carbons appears to enhance the adsorption of cationic surfactants, as would be expected. Controlling the electrostatic potential and pore size distribution of the activated carbons would be beneficial in the application of activated carbons for removal of surfactants from wastewater.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 436, 62-70 p.
Keyword [en]
Surfactants, Adsorption, Activated carbon, Mechanism, Textural analysis
National Category
Physical Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97044DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2013.05.063ISI: 000326416900009OAI: diva2:668975


Funding agencies:

Swedish Institute;

Swedish Energy Agency 

Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2013-12-02Bibliographically approved

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Hedin, Niklas
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