Prediction of multicomponent adsorption equilibria in background mixtures of unknown composition

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In the past, most predictive mathematical modeling work has focused on mixtures of known composition. Unfortunately, drinking water and wastewater contain many competing organic solutes and most of them may never be identified. Accordingly, a technique has been developed to predict the adsorption equilibria of known organic solutes onto granular activated carbon (GAC) in mixtures of unknown composition. Ideal adsorbed solution theory (IAST) was used to describe the competitive interactions between adsorbates. Theoretical components (TCs) were used in IAST calculations to account for the competitive effects of the unknown mixture. The TC isotherm parameters and concentrations were determined by conducting a multicomponent isotherm of a tracer component which is added to the unknown mixture or singled out of the unknown mixture. Once the TC parameters were determined, the identical parameters were used to predict the competitive interactions between any known component and the unknown mixture. This procedure was verified experimentally for two activated carbons, three synthetic mixtures and a contaminated groundwater. The organic solutes were halogenated one and two carbon aliphatics which are common groundwater contaminants. © 1985.

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Water Research