Metronidazole (MNZ) removal by two adsorbents, i.e., concrete-containing graphene (CG) and powder-activated carbon (PAC), was investigated via batch-mode experiments and the outcomes were used to analyze the kinetics, equilibrium and thermodynamics of MNZ adsorption. MNZ sorption on CG and PAC has followed the pseudo-second-order kinetic model, and the thermodynamic parameters revealed that MNZ adsorption was spontaneous on PAC and non-spontaneous on CG. Subsequently, two-parameter isotherm models, i.e., Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin, Dubinin–Radushkevich and Elovich models, were applied to evaluate the MNZ adsorption capacity. The maximum MNZ adsorption capacities (qm) of PAC and CG were found to be between 25.5–32.8 mg/g and 0.41–0.002 mg/g, respectively. Subsequently, the effects of pH, temperature and adsorbent dosage on MNZ adsorption were evaluated by a central composite design (CCD) approach. The CCD experiments have pointed out the complete removal of MNZ at a much lower PAC dosage by increasing the system temperature (i.e., from 20°C to 40°C). On the other hand, a desorption experiment has shown 3.5% and 1.7% MNZ removal from the surface of PAC and CG, respectively, which was insignificant compared to the sorbed MNZ on the surface by adsorption. The overall findings indicate that PAC and CG with higher graphene content could be useful in MNZ removal from aqueous systems. © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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