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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2007 Jun 1;310(1):57-73. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Sorption of arsenic, cadmium, and lead by chars produced from fast pyrolysis of wood and bark during bio-oil production.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39761, USA. dm_1967@hotmail.com


Bio-char by-products from fast wood/bark pyrolyses, were investigated as adsorbents for the removal of the toxic metals (As(3+), Cd(2+), Pb(2+)) from water. Oak bark, pine bark, oak wood, and pine wood chars were obtained from fast pyrolysis at 400 and 450 degrees C in an auger-fed reactor and characterized. A commercial activated carbon was also investigated for comparison. Chars were sieved (>600, 600-250, 250-177, 177-149, and <149 microm) and the particle size fraction from 600 to 250 microm was used without further modification for all studies unless otherwise stated. Sorption studies were performed at different temperatures, pHs, and solid to liquid ratios in the batch mode. Maximum adsorption occurred over a pH range 3-4 for arsenic and 4-5 for lead and cadmium. Kinetic studies yielded an optimum equilibrium time of 24 h with an adsorbent dose of 10 g/L and concentration approximately 100 mg/L for lead and cadmium. Sorption isotherms studies were conducted in broad concentration ranges (1-1000 ppb for arsenic, 1x10(-5)-5x10(-3) M for lead and cadmium). Oak bark out-performed the other chars and nearly mimicked Calgon F-400 adsorption for lead and cadmium. In an aqueous lead solution with initial concentration of 4.8x10(-4) M, both oak bark and Calgon F-400 (10 g/L) removed nearly 100% of the heavy metal. Oak bark (10 g/L) also removed about 70% of arsenic and 50% of cadmium from aqueous solutions. Varying temperatures (e.g., 5, 25, and 40 degrees C) were used to determine the effect of temperatures. The equilibrium data were modeled with the help of Langmuir and Freundlich equations. Overall, the data are well fitted with both the models, with a slight advantage for Langmuir model. The oak bark char's ability to remove Pb(II) and Cd(II) is remarkable when considered in terms of the amount of metal adsorbed per unit surface area (0.5157 mg/m(2) for Pb(II) and 0.213 mg/m(2) for Cd(II) versus that of commercial activated carbon.

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