Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.210, No.2, 271-280, 1999
Adsorption of NOM onto activated carbon: Effect of surface charge, ionic strength, and pore volume distribution
Adsorption of natural organic matter (NOM) onto seven activated carbons with a wide range of surface properties was studied at high and low ionic strength over a range of pH values. From adsorption isotherm studies it was found that, for six of seven carbons, at low surface concentrations, increased ionic strength decreased NOM adsorption, As the surface concentration increased, the adsorption isotherms converged and intersected, after which the addition of salt resulted in increased adsorption. This "crossover point" marked a change in the adsorption mechanism from the "screening reduced" to the "screening enhanced" adsorption regimes. The adsorption mechanisms are extremely complicated and appear attributable to various factors, including electrostatic forces, pore volume distribution, and chemical interactions between the NOM and the surface functionalities on the carbon surfaces.