Loughborough University
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Regeneration of activated carbon by photocatalysis using titanium dioxide

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posted on 2015-10-19, 11:41 authored by M. Ara Carballo-Meilan
The adsorption of methylene blue onto two types of commercial activated carbons, a mesoporous type (Norit CA1) and microporous type (207C) was analysed. Powdered TiO2 was mixed with the carbon and added to the dye solution to determine the influence of the photocatalyst during the adsorption process. Equilibrium and kinetics experiments were done with and without any addition of photocatalytic titanium dioxide (TiO2). Changes in capacity, heterogeneity, and heat of adsorption were detected and related to changes in the quantity of TiO2 added by evaluating the equilibrium parameter from 13 isotherm models. The influence of TiO2 on the adsorption kinetics of the dye was correlated using simplified kinetic-type model as well as mass transfer parameters. Using a formal design of experiments approach responses such as the removal of the dye, variation of pH, external mass transfer rate (KF) and intraparticle rate constant (Ki) were evaluated. Results indicated that TiO2 increased the uptake of methylene blue onto CA1, increased Ki and CA1-TiO2 interactions had electrostatic nature. In contrast, TiO2 was seen to inhibit the equilibrium adsorption for 207C by reducing its capacity. The 207C-TiO2 interaction was attributed to a specific adsorption of TiO2 on the coconut-based adsorbent, as zeta potential and pH measurements seemed to suggest. The regeneration of activated carbon using UV-C/TiO2 heterogeneous photocatalysis in a novel bell photocatalytic reactor, and in a standard-type coiled-tube photoreactor was also studied. Initially, response surface methodology was applied to finding the optimum conditions for the mineralization of methylene blue in both reactors using methylene blue as model compound and TiO2 as photocatalyst performing direct photocatalytic decolourization. Methylene blue concentration, TiO2 concentration and pH were the variables under study. Complete mineralization of the dye was achieved in the coiled-tube reactor using 3.07 mg/L of methylene blue at pH 6.5 with 0.4149 g/L TiO2. The regeneration experiments in the coiled-tube photoreactor were done using One Variable at Time (OVAT) method. The effect of the mass of TiO2 was the only studied variable. The study indicated an increase in regeneration of CA1 and a decrease in the pH during the oxidation step at higher concentration of the photocatalyst. In the case of the regeneration of 207C, the addition of TiO2 lowered the regeneration and made the suspension more basic during the photocatalytic step. However these results were not statistically significant. Experiments using the bell photoreactor were performed applying the same response surface method used in direct photocatalytic decolourization (control). The variables under study were pH, concentration of dye-saturated carbon and TiO2 concentration. The regeneration percentage was the chosen response. Low regeneration percentages were achieved (maximum 63%), and significant differences (95% confidence interval) were found between the regeneration of the activated carbons, being higher in the case of powdered CA1 as compared with granular 207C.


Department of Chemical Engineering



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering


© M. Ara Carballo Meilán

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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