Adsorption of selected pharmaceutical compounds onto activated carbon in dilute aqueous solutions exemplified by acetaminophen, diclofenac, and sulfamethoxazole

E. E. Chang, Jan Chi Wan, Hyunook Kim, Chung Huei Liang, Yung Dun Dai, Pen Chi Chiang

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The adsorption of three pharmaceuticals, namely, acetaminophen, diclofenac, and sulfamethoxazole onto granular activated carbon (GAC), was investigated. To study competitive adsorption, both dynamic and steady-state adsorption experiments were conducted by careful selection of pharmaceuticals with various affinities and molecular size. The effective diffusion coefficient of the adsorbate was increased with decease in particle size of GAC. The adsorption affinity represented as Langmuir was consistent with the ranking of the octanol-water partition coefficient, Kow. The adsorption behavior in binary or tertiary systems could be described by competition adsorption. In the binary system adsorption replacement occurred, under which the adsorbate with the smaller Kow was replaced by the one with larger Kow. Results also indicated that portion of the micropores could be occupied only by the small target compound, but not the larger adsorbates. In multiple-component systems the competition adsorption might significantly be affected by the macropores and less by the meso- or micropores.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186501
JournalScientific World Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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