The aim of this work is to evaluate the efficiency of Activated Carbon Cloths (ACCs) as a refining treatment of membrane filtration in the case of effluent streams containing both dyes and suspended solids (SS) or colloids responsible for turbidity. It is divided into two parts. First, dye adsorption experiments are carried out. Kinetics and isotherms enable us to show the feasibility of the adsorption and to study the influence of different operating conditions. The results demonstrate that adsorption is enhanced under acidic conditions, the adsorption capacity being increased by 40% in some cases. Moreover, microscopic characteristics of ACCs have a great influence on the adsorption process: there is a relationship between the adsorbent porosity and the adsorbate molecular weight, the mesoporous adsorbent being more efficious to remove the larger molecular weight dyes. In the case of low molecular weight compounds, the adsorbent with the higher specific surface area provides the greater adsorption capacity. Molecular connectivity indexes were used to confirm the correlation of the molecular structure of the adsorbates with their adsorbability. The second part consists of an estimation of the efficiency of the coupling of ultrafiltration and adsorption onto ACC. Tests performed on a laboratory-scale coupling show that a molecular weight cut-off of 3,000 D gives rise to a 98% removal of turbidity whereas dyes are not much retained. Furthermore, ultrafiltration is useful in improving the adsorption capacities of ACC in a continuous flow reactor (up to 50%).

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