Adsorption of organic contaminants by graphene nanosheets: A review

Gamze Ersan, Onur G. Apul, Francois Perreault, Tanju Karanfil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

354 Scopus citations


Graphene nanosheets (GNS) such as graphenes and graphene oxides (GOs) have been widely investigated as next-generation adsorbents in both water and wastewater treatment processes due to their unique physicochemical properties and their affinity towards different classes of organic contaminants (OCs). In the last five years, more than 40 articles investigating adsorption of different classes of OCs by graphene and GO were published in peer-reviewed journals. Adsorption mechanisms were controlled by molecular properties of OCs (e.g., aromatic vs aliphatic, molecular size and hydrophobicity), characteristics of adsorbents (e.g., surface area, pore size distribution, and surface functional groups), and background solution properties (e.g., pH, ionic strength, surfactants, NOM, and temperature). This literature survey includes: (i) a summary of adsorption of OCs by GNS, (ii) a comprehensive discussion of the mechanisms and factors controlling the adsorption of OCs by GNS and a comparison of their adsorption behaviors with those of CNT. This literature survey also identifies future research needs and challenges on the adsorption of OCs by GNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-398
Number of pages14
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 2017


  • Adsorption
  • Graphene
  • Graphene oxide
  • Organic contaminants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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