Standard Article

Activated Carbon: Ion Exchange and Adsorption Properties

Water Quality Control

  1. Basu Saha

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.wq11

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Saha, B. 2005. Activated Carbon: Ion Exchange and Adsorption Properties. Water Encyclopedia. 2:79–86.

Author Information

  1. Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Several techniques have been developed and used to remove and/or recover a wide range of micropollutants from water and a variety of industrial effluents. Adsorption using activated carbon is well established for the removal of organic molecules from aqueous solution, but to a much lesser extent for the removal of toxic heavy metals.

Here, the preparation, properties, and metal sorption performance of a range of as-received and oxidized samples of granular activated carbon that were either prepared or modified in the author's laboratory are discussed. Samples were evaluated for the removal of trace toxic metal ions from aqueous solutions. Batch and column experiments have been performed to elucidate the relationship between sorptive performance and the physical and chemical structure of these materials.


  • ion exchange;
  • heavy metals;
  • micropollutants;
  • activated carbon