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Arsenic(iii) removal from aqueous solution using TiO₂-loaded biochar prepared by waste Chinese traditional medicine dregs

Yan Yang, Ruixue Zhang, Shiwan Chen, Jian Zhu, Pan Wu, Jiayan Huang, Shihua Qi
RSC advances 2022 v.12 no.13 pp. 7720-7734
Gibbs free energy, Oriental traditional medicine, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, adsorbents, adsorption, aqueous solutions, arsenic, biochar, biosorbents, free radicals, models, oxidation, pH, photocatalysis, remediation, titanium dioxide
Oxidation of As(iii) to As(v) is an effective way to improve the performance of most arsenic removal technologies. In this study, a new alternative biosorbent, TiO₂-loaded biochar prepared by waste Chinese traditional medicine dregs (TBC) was applied in remediation for As(iii) from aqueous solution. Compared with unmodified biochar, the specific surface areas and total pore volumes of TBC increased while the average aperture decreased due to the loading of nano-TiO₂. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) of TBC confirmed that the precipitated titanium oxide was primarily anatase. pH did not have a significant effect on the adsorption capacity at 10 mg L⁻¹ As(iii) in suspension with a pH ranging from 2 to 10. Adsorption kinetics data were best fitted by the pseudo-second-order model (R² > 0.999). The Sips maximum adsorption capacity was 58.456 mg g⁻¹ at 25 °C, which is comparable with other adsorbents reported in previous literature. The Gibbs free energy (ΔG) of As(iii) adsorption was negative, indicating the spontaneous nature of adsorption. The results of free radical scavenging and N₂ purging experiments indicated that O₂ acted as an electron accepter and O₂˙⁻ dominated the oxidation of As(iii). The oxidation of As(iii) obviously affected the adsorption capacity for As(iii) by TBC. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies showed that As(iii) and As(v) existed on the surface of TBC, suggesting that the oxidation of As(iii) occurred. TBC played multiple roles for As(iii), including direct adsorption and photocatalytic oxidation adsorption. Regeneration and stability experiments showed that TBC was an environment-friendly and efficient adsorbent for As(iii) removal.