Inderscience Publishers

Biosorptional studies on heavy metals in an up-flow packed bed reactor using biomaterials

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Biosorption of copper, chromium, lead and cadmium in an up-flow packed-bed bioreactor with biosorbents [sanitary sewage sludge (SS), powdered coconut shell (PCS)] was conducted in a search for solutions to the environmental problem caused by heavy metals. Analysis of the results, demonstrated that the adsorbent had an extraordinary capacity for biosorption of the heavy metals, with a removal percentage of over 90% almost for all metals. The mechanism of the process was evaluated by FT-IR analysis and the functional groups employed in the process were determined. The presence of RNO
2
peak at 1,421 cm
–1
for unloaded sanitary SS and the presence of C-H group of aromatic ring for unloaded PCS play a major role in adsorption process. In regeneration experiments, increase in sorption performance was observed during cycles of sorption-desorption indicates a maximum adsorption during the onset of the process. Kinetic models (Adams-Bohart model, Yoon and Nelson equation and Thomas model) analysed for the continuous packed-bed biosorption systems are used to determine the biosorption capacity, breakthrough curve of biosorbent and to design of treatment processes.

Keywords: biosorption, heavy metals, up flow packed-bed reactor, sanitary sewage sludge, powdered coconut shell, PCS, FTIR, kinetic models

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