For the purpose of enhancing the adsorption of natural organic matter (NOM) from water sources, commercially available powdered activated carbon (PAC) was further ground to produce PAC of micrometre-sized particles, and the effects of PAC size on adsorption of NOM were investigated. The micrometre-sized PAC (median particle diameter, 0.8 and 3.8 μm) removed NOM much better than did asreceived PAC (33 μm). Only one-tenth the dose of micrometre-sized PAC had the same effect as a full dose of the as-received PAC. The micro-grinding of PAC to micrometre sizes was effective at increasing its adsorption kinetics: adsorption of NOM to the micrometre-sized PAC reached 80% of equilibrium within only 1 min of contact time. The micro-grinding of PAC was also effective at increasing its adsorption capacity for NOM and polystyrene sulfonate-MW1800, but not for the small molecule phenol. This appeared to be due to an increase in mesopore surface area probably by fracture of ink-bottle pore structures during the micro-grinding. The micro-grinding enhanced the adsorption affinity of PAC for NOM that was strongly UV260-absorbent but not for NOM with low UV260 absorbance.

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