Exercise #4: Activated carbon treatment
1. Your factory produces a waste containing 1,4 dioxane that you must treat before discharge.
You have decided to use activated carbon for this purpose. You perform laboratory-scale
tests to see how well the 1,4 dioxane in your waste will adsorb to the activated carbon you
will use. You put 0.5 liters of wastewater containing 2500 mg/L of 1,4 dioxane into 6
separate containers. Each container holds a different amount of carbon (GAC). After
equilibrium is established, you measure the 1,4 dioxane concentration that remains in the
liquid in each of the containers (Cf). The data you collect are in the table below.
a. Find the Freundlich isotherm constants (K and 1/n) for your waste and the carbon you
used. Include the isotherm plot you used to determine these values. Hint:Use Excel to
make a table of your data and follow the methods described in class (and in the text)
to make a graph of log(Xeq/M) versus log Ceq.
b. You produce 8000 L of waste containing 2500 mg/L of 1,4 dioxane each day. You
are required to reduce the 1,4 dioxane concentration to 1 mg/L before discharging
your waste. How much carbon would need to be used each day to treat your waste?
2. There are two types of waste: 1) Wastewater with dissolved polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs), and 2) Wastewater with dissolved heavy metals and particulate matter. For which of
these two wastes would activated carbon adsorption be more appropriate? Fully explain why
it is more appropriate and why the other waste is less appropriate.
3. You must deal with wastewater containing two dissolved chemicals. For each case (a and b),
determine which chemical will i) adsorb more strongly and ii) which chemical you might
expect to see later in the effluent at high concentrations. Fully explain your reasoning. Use
the Freundlich parameters provided in the table below.
a. 2,4 Dichlorophenol and 1,1,2-Trichloroethane
b. Phenol and Hexachlorocyclopentadiene
Compound 1/n K (mg/g)(C-units)1/n
2,4 dichlorophenol 0.15 157
1,1,2 TCA 0.60 6
hexachlorocyclopentadiene 0.17 370
phenol 0.54 21GAC (mg) Cf (mg/L)
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