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Water 2017, 9(8), 580; doi:10.3390/w9080580

Impact of Powdered Activated Carbon Structural Properties on Removal of Organic Foulants in Combined Adsorption-Ultrafiltration

Institute for Water Resources and Water Supply, Hamburg University of Technology, Am Schwarzenberg-Campus 3, 20173 Hamburg, Germany
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Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract

The impact of structural properties of three commercial PACs as well as two mechanically ground PACs on their efficiency in NOM removal and fouling reduction in combined adsorption-ultrafiltration (PAC-UF) of northern German groundwater was investigated. All PACs showed highest adsorption affinity for medium molecular weight NOM fractions. The meso-pore surface area rather than the total surface area (B.E.T.) mainly governed the extent of NOM removal. However, adsorption of macromolecular NOM fractions, which were found to be the main contributor to total and irreversible fouling, was limited by tested commercial carbons, and no significant mitigation of fouling was achieved by any tested PAC concentration. Lowering the particle size by grinding of the PAC, however, enhanced removal of macromolecular NOM fractions considerably, and fouling mitigation occurred at substantially lower PAC concentrations compared to raw carbons. A larger external surface area probably let to more shell adsorption, a more homogeneous particle distribution on the membrane surface and a better mass transport. In addition, comparison of the adsorption isotherms of raw and milled PACs showed that, due to the grinding of PAC particles, additional inner pores structures became available for NOM adsorption. Results of this study point out that structural properties of PAC dramatically influence the efficiency of combined PAC-UF, which needs to be considered during PAC selection and process design. View Full-Text
Keywords: powdered activated carbon (PAC); ultrafiltration (UF); membrane hybrid processes; NOM-removal; membrane fouling powdered activated carbon (PAC); ultrafiltration (UF); membrane hybrid processes; NOM-removal; membrane fouling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Schulz, M.; Bünting, S.; Ernst, M. Impact of Powdered Activated Carbon Structural Properties on Removal of Organic Foulants in Combined Adsorption-Ultrafiltration. Water 2017, 9, 580.

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