Abstract

The objective of this study is to model the breakthrough adsorption curves of Co (II) ions using spent tealeaves in fixed-bed column experiments. Spent leaves of green tea (GT), peppermint tea (PM) and chamomile (CM) were packed in glass columns with a diameter of 2 cm and height of 15 cm, and used as filters for the removal of the pollutant. Aqueous solutions of Cobalt (II) ions (100 mg/L) at pH 6 were prepared and pumped against gravity through the columns at a uniform flow rate of 5 mL/min. Breakthrough curves were fitted for the residual concentration data using the Thomas, Yoon-Nelson, and Clark models, with added empirical terms to delineate the lower tail of the breakthrough curve. These mathematical models were successfully linearized using the natural logarithm for parameter estimation. The results reveal that the Co (II) adsorption fits all three models for all the adsorbents. The Thomas model indicated that the calculated adsorption capacities followed the trend: PM > GT > CM with values of 59.7, 25.2, and 24.9 mg/g respectively. Moreover, CM showed the highest adsorption rates with all the mathematical models, whereas Yoon-Nelson theory provided evidence that PM has the longest 50% adsorption breakthrough among the adsorbents. Lastly, morphological and textural studies indicate that all spent leaves are good candidates as adsorbents due to their high surface heterogeneity. This study proposes the use of spent tealeaves as Co (II) adsorbents because they are inexpensive and environmentally beneficial.

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