This study investigates the impact of the type of virgin granular activated carbon (GAC) media used to synthesize iron (hydr)oxide nanoparticle-impregnated granular activated carbon (Fe-GAC) on its properties and its ability to remove arsenate and organic trichloroethylene (TCE) from water. Two Fe-GAC media were synthesized via a permanganate/ferrous ion synthesis method using bituminous and lignite-based virgin GAC. Data obtained from an array of characterization techniques (pore size distribution, surface charge, etc.) in correlation with batch equilibrium tests, and continuous flow modeling suggested that GAC type and pore size distribution control the iron (nanoparticle) contents, Fe-GAC synthesis mechanisms, and contaminant removal performances. Pore surface diffusion model calculations predicted that lignite Fe-GAC could remove ~6.3Lg-1 dry media and ~4Lg-1 dry media of water contaminated with 30μgL-1 TCE and arsenic, respectively. In contrast, the bituminous Fe-GAC could remove only ~0.2L/g dry media for TCE and ~2.8L/g dry media for As of the same contaminated water. The results show that arsenic removal capability is increased while TCE removal is decreased as a result of Fe nanoparticle impregnation. This tradeoff is related to several factors, of which changes in surface properties and pore size distributions appeared to be the most dominant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-388
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


  • Adsorption
  • Arsenic
  • GAC
  • Iron (hydr)oxide
  • Nanoparticle
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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