By simulating decreasing inflow concentrations, the extent of desorption of organic micropollutants (OMP) from three activated carbons (AC) was examined in laboratory batch tests. The tested AC showed strong differences in pore size distribution and could therefore be characterized as typical micro-, meso- and macroporous AC, respectively. Adsorption and desorption conditions were varied by using drinking water (containing dissolved organic matter (DOM)) and DOM-free pure water as background solutions to examine the influence of DOM on OMP desorption for the different AC. Under ideal conditions (adsorption and desorption in pure water) adsorption of the tested OMP was found to be highly up to completely reversible for all tested AC. Under real conditions (adsorption and desorption in drinking water) additional DOM adsorption affects desorption in different ways depending on the AC pore structure. For the micro- and mesoporous AC, an increased irreversibility of OMP adsorption was found, which shows that DOM adsorption prevents OMP desorption. This could be referred to pore blockage effects that occur during the parallel adsorption of DOM and OMP. For the macroporous AC, DOM adsorption led to an enhanced OMP desorption which could be attributed to displacement processes. These results show that smaller pores tend to be blocked by DOM which hinders OMP from desorption. The overall larger pores of the macroporous AC do not get blocked which could allow (i) OMP to desorb and (ii) DOM to enter and displace OMP.
Water Research – Elsevier
Published: Apr 15, 2018
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