Fast and slow rates of naphthalene sorption to biochars produced at different temperatures

Zaiming Chen, Baoliang Chen, Cary T. Chiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

291 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the sorption kinetics of a model solute (naphthalene) with a series of biochars prepared from a pine wood at 150-700 °C (referred as PW100-PW700) to probe the effect of the degree of carbonization of a biochar. The samples were characterized by the elemental compositions, thermal gravimetric analyses, Fourier transform IR spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller-N2 surface areas (SA), and pore size distributions. Naphthalene exhibited a fast rate of sorption to PW150 owning a high oxygen content and a small SA, due supposedly to the solute partition into a swollen well-hydrated uncarbonized organic matter of PW150. The partial removal of polar-group contents in PW250/PW350, which increased the compactness of the partition medium, decreased the diffusion of the solute into the partition phase to result in a slow sorption rate. With PW500 and PW700 displaying low oxygen contents and high SA, the solute sorption rates were fast, attributed to the near exhaustion of a partition phase in the sample and to the fast solute adsorption on the carbonized biochar component. The results illustrate that the sorption rate of a solute with biochars is controlled largely by the solute's diffusivity in the biochar's partition phase, in which the medium compactness affects directly the solute diffusivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11104-11111
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 16

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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