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Removal of mixture of ZnO and CuO nanoparticles (NPs) from water using activated carbon in batch kinetic studies

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The aim of this study was to understand the effects of pH (5, 6, 7, 8, 9) and activated carbon (AC) concentration (0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100 g/L) on the removal of a colloidal solution of nanoparticles (NPs) (ZnO + CuO) using AC in batch kinetic studies. Results revealed that adsorption capacities of AC for Zn and Cu (individually) were 0.9 ± 0.028 mg/g (91.3% removal) and 0.95 ± 0.036 mg/g (95.6% removal) in deionized water and 0.6 ± 0.038 mg/g (78% removal) and 0.75 ± 0.078 mg/g (83% removal) in wastewater at pH 8 (Zn) and pH 6 (Cu) respectively. In a colloidal solution mixture of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) and copper oxide nanoparticles (CuONPs), adsorption capacity of AC for Zn in deionized water was 0.71 ± 0.051 mg/g (74.7% removal) and in wastewater was 0.576 ± 0.019 mg/g (69% removal) and for Cu in deionized water was 0.82 ± 0.017 mg/g (81.2% removal) and in wastewater was 0.6 ± 0.032 mg/g (71.5% removal). Overall, this study provided a detailed analysis of the removal capacity of AC and indicated that AC can be used as an efficient adsorbent filter for removing engineered NPs like ZnONPs and CuONPs (single and mixture) from water. As there is a need for removing NPs from wastewater, removal of NPs using an AC-based adsorptive-filter might become a promising method.

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