Three-component competitive adsorption model for flow-through PAC systems. 2. Model application to a PAC/membrane system

Qilin Li, Benito J. Mariñas, Vernon L. Snoeyink, Carlos Campos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A three-component competitive adsorption kinetic model, developed and validated in part 1 of this study, was applied to a continuous-flow PAC/membrane system to study the effects of various system and operating parameters on organic removal. The model quantitatively describes the two competitive adsorption mechanisms that occur during adsorption of trace organic compounds by powdered activated carbon (PAC) in flow-through systems where the PAC is retained in the system: pore blockage and direct competition for adsorption sites. Model simulations were conducted to investigate the effects of influent water composition, membrane cleaning water quality, PAC pore size distribution, and system operation conditions such as hydraulic retention time, membrane cleaning interval, and PAC dosing method on treatment efficiency. Effects of these factors on adsorption capacity as well as surface diffusion rate and consequent removal of the trace organic compound were discussed. It was found that optimal operating conditions for maximum trace organic compound removal must be determined on the basis of the adsorption properties and concentrations of the competing compounds in the influent. For the conditions investigated in this study, the small strongly competing compound, p-DCB, had greater impact on atrazine removal than the large pore-blocking compound, PSS-1.Sk. Various process design and operating parameters had complex and interrelated effects on the impact of competitive adsorption and corresponding trace contaminant removal efficiency in hybrid PAC/membrane systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3005-3011
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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