Equilibrium and kinetic adsorption of tri-valent (arsenite) and penta-valent (arsenate) arsenic to activated alumina is elucidated. The properties of activated alumina, including porosity, specific surface area, and skeleton density were first measured. A batch reactor with temperature control was employed to determine both adsorption capacity and adsorption kinetics for arsenite and arsenate to activated-alumina grains. The Freundlich and Langmuir isotherm equations were then used to describe the partitioning behavior for the system at different pH. A pore diffusion model, coupled with the observed Freundlich or Langmuir isotherm equations, was used to interpret an observed experimental adsorption kinetic curve for arsenite at one specific condition. The model was found to fit with the experimental data fairly well, and pore diffusion coefficients can be extracted. The model, incorporated with the interpreted pore diffusion coefficient, was then employed to predict the experimental data for arsenite and arsenate at various conditions, including different initial arsenic concentrations, grain sizes of activated alumina, and system pHs. The model predictions were found to describe the experimental data fairly well, even though the tested conditions substantially differed from one another. The agreement among the models and experimental data indicated that the adsorption and diffusion of arsenate and arsenite can be simulated by the proposed model.
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