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Enhanced adsorption of quaternary amine using modified activated carbon

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This study examined different methodologies to modify activated carbon (AC) for the removal of quaternary amine, tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH), from water. Commercial carbon (WAC) was treated by nitric acid oxidation (NA-WAC), silica impregnation (SM-WAC0.5), and oxygen plasma (P10-WAC), and their characteristics and adsorption capacity were compared. The Langmuir model fitted the equilibrium adsorption data well under different pH. The maximum adsorption capacity of WAC was 27.77 mg/g, while those of NA-WAC, SM-WAC 0.5, and P10-WAC were 37.46, 32.83 and 29.03 mg/g, respectively. Nitric acid oxidation was the most effective method for enhancing the adsorption capacity of TMAH. Higher pH was favorable for TMAH adsorption. Desorption study revealed that NA-WAC had no considerable reduction in performance even after five cycles of regeneration by 0.1 N hydrochloric acid. It was proposed that electrostatic interaction was the main mechanism of TMAH adsorption on activated carbon.

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