Chemical heterogeneity seems to be responsible for spreading increase of adsorbed solute breakthrough curves. Adsorption in fixed beds assumes chemically homogeneous media. However, this is not always true, in particular when natural sands or mixed adsorbent filters are used in drinking water purification. Neglecting eventual effect of chemical heterogeneity may engender false modeling bases. So, considering homogeneous grain size distribution, the effect of chemical heterogeneity on global dispersion in porous media has been investigated experimentally in this article at column scale. Breakthroughs of adsorbed solute showed a visible effect of chemical heterogeneity on solute global dispersion increasing. The more heterogeneous the medium, the more spread the adsorbed solute breakthrough. Reduced variance showed a linear variation with the chemical heterogeneity scale at closely constant media global capacity. A pseudo-homogeneous model has been developed to simulate experimental data by increasing dispersion parameter. © 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2008
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