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Elucidation of mechanistic insight into the interaction of carbon materials' physicochemical surface properties and ammonium (NH) adsorption in aqueous media was made by conducting a systematic study using a wide range of carbon materials. Three types of biochars (rice husk, poultry litter, and enhanced poultry litter) and activated carbons (fresh and aged coconut shell-based and charcoal-based) were used for investigating the NH adsorption mechanism. Poultry litter biochar, with lowest surface area (3 m g) and largest pore diameter (29 nm), showed the highest NH adsorption capacity (0.34 mg NHg), while charcoal-based activated carbon, with the highest surface area (1133 m g) and small pore diameter (6 nm), had the least NH adsorption capacity (0.09 mg NHg). The value of Freundlich isotherm constant 'n' was >1 for all tested carbon materials indicating chemisorption as the dominant sorption mechanism. Aging of the carbon surface resulted in 30% increase in NH retention. Surface chemical properties that most influenced NH chemisorption on to carbon materials were found to be acidic surface functional groups (ASFGs), elemental composition, ash content, and pH. The optimal conditions for NH adsorption, regardless of type and source of carbon materials, were solution pH of 8, a high amount of ash content, and carboxyl, carbonyl, and phenolic functional groups. Evaluation of CEC and ASFGs indicated that CEC and ASFGs are not equivalent terms. Through this study, conducted on carbon adsorbents derived from different sources, with different surface physical and chemical properties, we established that ASFGs, and not CEC, play a critical role in ammonium chemisorption on carbon materials. The study showed that low cost and eco-friendly biochars, with optimal surface chemistry, can replace expensive activated carbons for NH remediation in aqueous media.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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Derivatives of ammonium compounds, NH4+ Y-, in which all four of the hydrogens bonded to nitrogen have been replaced with hydrocarbyl groups. These are distinguished from IMINES which are RN=CR2.
QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS containing three methyl groups, having the general formula of (CH3)3N+R.
Quaternary ammonium compounds that consist of an ammonium cation where the central nitrogen atom is bonded to four ethyl groups.
A pyrrolo-quinoline having two adjacent keto-groups at the 4 and 5 positions and three acidic carboxyl groups. It is a coenzyme of some DEHYDROGENASES.
Inorganic compounds that include a positively charged tetrahedral nitrogen (ammonium ion) as part of their structure. This class of compounds includes a broad variety of simple ammonium salts and derivatives.