Palm shell activated carbon was modified via surface impregnation with polyethyleneimine (PEI) to enhance removal of Cu2 +  from aqueous solution in this study. The effect of PEI modification on batch adsorption of Cu2 +  as well as the equilibrium behavior of adsorption of metal ions on activated carbon were investigated. PEI modification clearly increased the Cu2 +  adsorption capacities by 68% and 75.86% for initial solution pH of 3 and 5 respectively. The adsorption data of Cu2 +  on both virgin and PEI-modified AC for both initial solution pH of 3 and 5 fitted the Langmuir and Redlich–Peterson isotherms considerably better than the Freundlich isotherm.

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