Adsorption of methylene blue and Congo red from aqueous solution by activated carbon and carbon nanotubes

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study was conducted to determine the adsorption removal of dyes by powdered activated carbon (PAC, Norit) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs, Chinese Academy of Science) from an aqueous solution. Methylene blue (MB) and Congo red (CR) were selected as model compounds. The adsorbents tested have a high surface area (PAC 835 m2/g, MWCNTs 358 m2/g) and a well-developed porous structure which enabled the effective treatment of dye-contaminated waters and wastewaters. To evaluate the capacity of PAC and MWCNTs to adsorb dyes, a series of batch adsorption experiments was performed. Both adsorbents exhibited a high adsorptive capacity for MB and CR, and equilibrium data fitted well with the Langmuir model, with the maximum adsorption capacity up to 400 mg/g for MB and 500 mg/g for CR. The separation factor, RL, revealed the favorable nature of the adsorption process under experimental conditions. The kinetics of adsorption was studied at various initial dye concentrations and solution temperatures. The pseudo-second-order model was used for determining the adsorption kinetics of MB and CR. The data obtained show that adsorption of both dyes was rapid in the initial stage and followed by slower processing to reach the plateau. The uptake of dyes increased with contact time, irrespective of their initial concentration and solution temperature. However, changes in the solution temperature did not significantly influence dye removal.

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