Equilibrium, Kinetic, and Thermodynamic Studies on the Adsorption of Triclosan onto Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes



The increased accumulation of toxic pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment is a concern of worldwide relevance. Efficient technologies are needed to mitigate the level of such chemicals in natural waters. The suitability of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to remove aqueous triclosan (a widely used anti-microbial agent) was investigated in the present study. Tested operational parameters included the pH (3.0–11.0) value and the ionic strength (10−3, 10−2, and 10−1 M). Kinetic and thermodynamic studies were conducted at different initial concentrations (4, 8, and 10 mg/L) and temperatures (288, 298, and 308 K). Results showed higher triclosan adsorption at pH 3.0 (157.7 mg/g) than at pH 11.0 (103.9 mg/g). With an increase of ionic strength from 10−3 to 10−2 M, the adsorption capacity increased from 136.1 to 153.1 mg/g and from 80.8 to 105.8 mg/g at pH 3.0 and 10.0, respectively, while further increase of ionic strength to 10−1 M slightly reduced the triclosan adsorption to 149.9 and 94.7 mg/g due to the aggregation of MWCNTs. The Polanyi–Manes model (PMM) provided a best fitting of adsorption isotherms to the experimental data, and the kinetic process was well described by the pseudo second-order kinetic model. The calculated thermodynamic parameters (ΔH0 = −88.08 kJ/mol, ΔS0 = −173.38 J/mol K) suggested that the adsorption of triclosan is spontaneous and exothermic in nature. The findings of the present work have significant implications for the removal of triclosan from aqueous solution with MWCNTs.