Immobilization of soot particles in a silica matrix: A sorbent-carrier system for studying organic chemical sorption

Thanh H. Nguyen, Isam Sabbah, William P. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new method for studying sorption with diesel and hexane soot was developed, tested, and applied. A commercial silica-based chromatography medium was used as an inert inorganic carrier for immobilization (entrapment) of soot particles and their aggregates, thus creating a combined sorbent for sorption of hydrophobic organic chemicals (HOCs). After precombustion to remove potential organic carbon contaminants, the silica particles and soot samples were mixed under dry conditions that allowed the soot to be incorporated within the pore structure of the much larger (> 180 μm) carrier particles. Unincorporated soot was removed by multiple rinses with Milli-Q water. Sorption rate and equilibrium experiments were conducted, using phenanthrene as a probe HOC. Strong nonlinear sorption of phenanthrene was observed, in agreement with results previously obtained using air-bridge and flocculation-based methods. Batch kinetic studies suggested that 60 d of prewetting is required to obtain full water saturation, as perhaps needed for proper assessment of phenanthrene uptake rate by soot in aqueous systems. For the determination of equilibrium phenanthrene sorption, however, 1-d prewetting is sufficient so long as final equilibration is for at least 60 d. The new method is a practical approach to sorption measurement that may prove especially useful for study of strongly sorbing chemicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6527-6534
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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