A novel preparation method of magnetized palm shell waste-based powdered activated carbon (MPPAC, avg. size 112 μm) was developed. The prepared MPPAC was assessed by several physicochemical analyses, and batch tests were performed for ibuprofen (IBP) removal. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and N2 gas isotherms revealed that magnetite and maghemite were homogeneous and deposited mostly on the surface of PPAC without a significant clogging effect on the micropores. Isotherm results showed that 3.8% Fe (w/w) impregnated PPAC [MPPAC-Fe(3.8%)] had about 2.2-fold higher maximum sorption capacity (157.3 mg g-1) and a 2.5-fold higher sorption density (0.23 mg m-2) than pristine PPAC. Both Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and isotherm data indicated that the high sorption capacity and density of IBP by MPPAC was primarily attributable to donor-acceptor complexes with the C = O group and dispersive π-π interactions with the carbon surface. Based on kinetic and repeated adsorption tests, pore diffusion was the rate-limiting step, and MPPAC-Fe(3.8%) had about 1.9∼2.8- and 9.1∼15.8-fold higher rate constants than MPPAC-Fe(8.6%) and palm shell-waste granular activated carbon (PGAC, avg. size 621 μm), respectively. MPPAC showed almost eight fold greater re-adsorption capacity than PPAC due to a thermal catalytic effect of magnetite/ maghemite.
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© 2015 Wong et al.