The adsorption isotherm of p-nitrophenol onto granular activated carbon in 25°C aqueous solution was experimentally determined by batch tests. Both the Freundlich and the Redlich-Peterson models were found to fit the adsorption isotherm data well. A series of column tests were performed to determine the breakthrough curves with varying bed depths (3-6cm) and water flow rates (21.6-86.4cm3/h). Explicit equations for the breakthrough curves of the fixed-bed adsorption processes with the Langmuir and the Freundlich adsorption isotherms were developed by the constant-pattern wave approach using a constant driving force model in the liquid phase. The results show that the half breakthrough time increases proportionally with increasing bed depth but decreases inverse proportionally with increasing water flow rate. The constant-pattern wave approach using the Freundlich isotherm model fits the experimental breakthrough curves quite satisfactorily. A correlation was proposed to predict the volumetric mass-transfer coefficient in the liquid phase successfully. The effects of solution temperature and pH on the adsorption isotherm were also studied and the Tóth model was found to fit the isotherm data well at varying solution temperatures and pHs.
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