Removal of arsenic and methylene blue from water by granular activated carbon media impregnated with zirconium dioxide nanoparticles

Robert Sandoval, Anne Marie Cooper, Kathryn Aymar, Arti Jain, Kiril Hristovski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effects of in situ ZrO 2 nanoparticle formation on properties of granulated activated carbon (GAC) and their impacts on arsenic and organic co-contaminant removal. Bituminous and lignite based zirconium dioxide impregnated GAC (Zr-GAC) media were fabricated by hydrolysis of zirconium salt followed by annealing of the product at 400°C in an inert environment. Media characterization suggested that GAC type does not affect the crystalline structure of the resulting ZrO 2 nanoparticles, but does affect zirconium content of the media, nanoparticle morphology, nanoparticle distribution, and surface area of Zr-GAC. The arsenic removal performance of both media was compared using 5mM NaHCO 3 buffered ultrapure water and model groundwater containing competing ions, both with an initial arsenic C 0≈120μg/L. Experimental outcomes suggested favorable adsorption energies and higher or similar adsorption capacities than commercially available or experimental adsorbents when compared on the basis of metal content. Short bed adsorber column tests showed that arsenic adsorption capacity decreases as a result of kinetics of competing ions. Correlation between the properties of the media and arsenic and methylene blue removal suggested that surface area and GAC type may be the dominant factors controlling the arsenic and organic co-contaminant removal performance of the fabricated Zr-GAC media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-303
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011


  • Arsenic
  • Granular activated carbon
  • Methylene blue
  • Nanoparticle
  • Zirconium dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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