Activated carbon was developed from sewage sludge using pyrolusite as an additive. It was demonstrated that the removal efficiency of two synthetic dyes (Tracid orange GS and Direct fast turquoise blue GL) by the produced adsorbent was up to 97.6%. The activated carbon with pyrolusite addition had 38.2% higher surface area, 43.8% larger micropore and 54.4% larger mesopore production than ordinary sludge-based activated carbons. Equilibrium adsorption isotherms and kinetics were also investigated based on dyes adsorption tests. The experimental data were analyzed by the Langmuir and Freundlich models of adsorption, and the results fitted well to the Langmuir isotherm. The kinetic data have been analyzed using pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order and intraparticle diffusion equation. The experimental data fitted very well with pseudo-second-order kinetic model. Activation energies for the adsorption processes ranged between 8.7 and 19.1 kJ mol−1. Thermodynamic parameters such as standard free energy (ΔG0), standard enthalpy (ΔH0) and standard entropy (ΔS0) were evaluated. The adsorption of these two dyes on the activated carbon was found to be a spontaneous and endothermic process in nature.

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