The aim of this study was to determine the sorption potential of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to bisphenol A (BPA) contained in synthetic wastewater whose composition corresponds to biologically treated effluents. These nanotubes differed in their outer diameter, the number of graphene layers and the presence of modifying functional groups. Based on the nitrogen adsorption–desorption isotherms, mensuration of the specific surface area and pore size distribution was undertaken. The porous structure of the CNTs was bidispersive; the majority consisted of micropores, there was an average fraction of mesopores, and macropores did not occur. On the basis of common kinetics models (pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order models), a trial of modelling the kinetics of BPA sorption onto nanotubes was undertaken. The experimental data were well fitted only to the pseudo-second-order models. The kinetics study indicated that adsorption of BPA on CNTs proceeded very fast, with the majority of the adsorbate being adsorbed in the first few seconds. The sorption capacity of nanotubes to BPA was the highest for single-walled CNTs. A decrease in the sorption potential of the nanotubes for higher pH values occurred as a result of the deprotonation of the BPA and formation of bisphenolate anions, consequently leading to a decrease of ππ (hydrophobic) interaction and enhancing electrostatic repulsion. Overall, these results unequivocally confirm the ideal performance and potential of nanotubes for removal of micropollutants from synthetic wastewater. Replicating the conditions occurring in real wastewater allows us to expect a high sorption of BPA in real competitive sorption systems.

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