Isotherms were determined for the adsorption of five pharmaceutical residues, primidone, carbamazepine, ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac, to Calgon Filtrasorb 300 powdered activated carbon (PAC). The sorption behavior was examined in ultra-pure and wastewater effluent organic matter (EfOM) matrices, where more sorption was observed in the ultra-pure water for PAC doses greater than 10 mg/L suggesting the presence of EfOM hinders the sorption of the pharmaceuticals to the PAC. Adsorption behaviors were described by the Freundlich isotherm model. Quantitative structure property relationships (QSPRs) in the form of polyparameter linear solvation energy relationships were developed for simulating the Freundlich adsorption capacity in both ultra-pure and EfOM matrices. The significant 3D-based descriptors for the QSPRs were the molar volume, polarizability and hydrogen-bond donor parameters.
Keywords: activated carbon, adsorption, pharmaceuticals, QSPR, water reuse