Three-component competitive adsorption model for fixed-bed and moving-bed granular activated carton adsorters. Part I. Model development

Lance C. Schideman, Benito J. Mariñas, Vernon L. Snoeyink, Carlos Campos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heterogeneous natural organic matter (NOM) present in all natural waters impedes trace organic contaminant adsorption, and predictive modeling of granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorber performance is often compromised by inadequate accounting for these competitive effects. Thus, a 3-component adsorption model, COMPSORB-GAC, is developed that separately tracks NOM adsorption and its competitive effects as a function of NOM surface loading. In this model, NOM is simplified into two fictive fractions with distinct competitive effects on trace compound adsorption: a smaller, strongly competing fraction that reduces equilibrium capacity and a larger pore-blocking fraction that reduces adsorption kinetics (both external film mass transfer and surface diffusion). COMPSORB-GAC tracks these two NOM fractions, along with the trace compound, and changes adsorption parameters according to the local surface loading of the two NOM fractions. Model parameters are allowed to vary both temporally and spatially to reflect differences in the NOM preloading conditions that occur in GAC columns. This dual-resistance model is based on homogeneous surface diffusion with external film mass-transfer limitations. The governing equations are expressed in a moving-grid finite-difference formulation to accommodate the modeling of spatially varying parameters and moving-bed reactors with counter-current adsorbent flow. A series of short-term adsorption tests with fresh and preloaded GAC is proposed to determine the necessary model input parameters. The accompanying manuscript demonstrates the parameterization procedure and verifies the model with experimental data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6805-6811
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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