Activated carbon from molasses efficiency for Cr(VI), Pb(II) and Cu(II) adsorption: A mechanistic study

K. Legrouri, E. Khouya, H. Hannache, M. El Hartti, M. Ezzine and R. Naslain

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Activated carbon was prepared from molasses, which are natural precursors of vegetable origin resulting from the sugar industry. A simple elaboration process, based on chemical activation with phosphoric acid, was proposed. The final
product, prepared by activation of molasses/phosphoric acid mixture in air at 500°C, presented high surface area (more than 1400 m2/g) and important maximum adsorption capacity for methylene blue (625 mg/g) and iodine (1660
mg/g). The activated carbon (MP2(500)) showed a good potential for the adsorption of Cr(VI), Cu(II) and Pb(II) from aqueous solutions. The affinity for the three ions was observed in the following order Cu2+ Cr6+ Pb2+. The process is
governed by monolayer adsorption following the Langmuir model, with a correlation coefficient close to unity.