In this study, low-cost activated carbon (AC) prepared from baobab fruit shells by chemical activation using phosphoric acid was evaluated for the removal of Cu(II) ions from aqueous solution. The prepared activated carbon samples were characterized using N2-adsorption–desorption isotherms, SEM, FTIR, EDX and XRD analysis. The sample activated at 700 °C was chosen as our optimized sample because its physicochemical properties and BET results were similar to those of a commercial sample. The N2-adsorption–desorption results of the optimized sample revealed a BET surface area of 1089 m2/g, micropore volume of 0.3764 cm3/g, total pore volume of 0.4330 cm3/g and pore size of 1.45 nm. Operational parameters such as pH, initial copper concentration, contact time, adsorbent dosage and temperature were studied in a batch mode. Equilibrium data were obtained by testing the adsorption data using three different isotherm models: Langmuir, Freundlich and Dubinin–Radushkevish (D–R) models. It was found that the adsorption of copper correlated well with the Langmuir isotherm model with a maximum monolayer adsorption capacity of 3.0833 mg/g. The kinetics of the adsorption process was tested through pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order models. The pseudo-second-order kinetic model provided the best correlation for the experimental data studied. The adsorption followed chemisorption process. The study provided an effective use of baobab fruit shells as a valuable source of adsorbents for the removal of copper ions from aqueous solution. This study could add economic value to baobab fruit shells in Malawi, reduce disposal problems, and offer an economic source of AC to the AC users.
Applied Water Science – Springer Journals
Published: May 25, 2017
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