The combination of powdered activated carbon (PAC) and TiO2 has been tested for synergistic/antagonistic effects in the photocatalytic degradation of carbamazepine, clofibric acid and iomeprol. Synergistic effects are thought to be caused by rapid adsorption on the PAC surface followed by diffusion to the TiO2 surface and photocatalytic degradation. The Freundlich constant KF was used for comparing the sorption properties of the three substances and it was found that KF for clofibric acid was 3 times lower than for carbamazepine and iomeprol, regardless of the kind of PAC used. A PAC with a distinct tendency to form conglomerates was selected so that a high percentage of the PAC surface was in direct proximity to the TiO2 surface. The photocatalytic degradation of the pharmaceutically active compounds studied followed pseudo-first order kinetics. Synergistic effects only occurred for clofibric acid (factor 1.5) and an inverse relationship between adsorption affinity and synergistic effects was found. High affinity of the target substances to the PAC surface seemed to be counterproductive for the photocatalytic degradation.

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