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Effects of carbon nanotubes on phosphorus adsorption behaviors on aquatic sediments

Qian, Jin, Li, Kun, Wang, Peifang, Wang, Chao, Shen, Mengmeng, Liu, Jingjing, Tian, Xin, Lu, Bianhe
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2017 v.142 pp. 230-236
Gibbs free energy, adsorption, carbon nanotubes, endothermy, models, phosphorus, pollutants, sediments, sorption isotherms, surface area, toxicity, zeta potential
Aquatic sediments are believed to be an important sink for carbon nanotubes (CNTs). With novel properties, CNTs can potentially disturb the fate and mobility of the co-existing contaminants in the sediments. Only toxic pollutants have been investigated previously, and to the best of our knowledge, no data has been published on how CNTs influence phosphorus (P) adsorption on aquatic sediments. In this study, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were selected as model CNTs. Experimental results indicated that compared to pseudo-first order and intraparticle diffusion models, the pseudo-second-order model is better for describing the adsorption kinetics of sediments and MWCNT-contaminated sediments. Adsorption isotherm studies suggested that the Langmuir model fits the isotherm data well. With the increase in the MWCNT-to-sediment ratio from 0.0% to 5.0%, the theoretical maximum monolayer adsorption capacity (Qmax) for P increased from 0.664 to 0.996mg/g. However, the Langmuir isotherm coefficient (KL) significantly decreased from 4.231L/mg to 2.874L/mg, indicating the decrease in the adsorption free energy of P adsorbed on the sediments after MWCNT contamination. It was suggested that P was released more easily to the overlying water after the re-suspension of sediments. Moreover, the adsorption of sediments and sediment-MWCNT mixture was endothermic and physical in nature. Results obtained herein suggested that the change in the specific surface area and zeta potential of sediments is related to MWCNT contamination, and the large adsorption capacity of MWCNTs is probably the main factor responsible for the variation in the adsorption of P on aquatic sediments.