Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, P. O. Box 43598, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA; Center for Environmental Technology, The Energy Institute of Louisiana, P. O. Box 43597, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
In this study, we first investigated the effects of textural parameters and surface properties of ordered mesoporous carbon (OMC) for the adsorptive removal of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene (BTEX) from aqueous solutions. The BET surface area, pore volume, and surface functional groups of OMC played a crucial role in affecting the adsorption performance of BTEX. Boric acid was used to increase the pore size and BET surface area of OMC from 5.94 nm to 6.74 nm and from 1276 m2/g to 1428 m2/g, respectively. Citric acid was used to introduce more oxygen-containing functional groups on the surface of OMC achieving an overall increase of 11.4% of the oxygen content. The batch adsorption experiments were conducted to evaluate the adsorption capacity for OMC and modified towards BTEX and the results showed that modified OMC exhibited a significant improvement for BTEX removal in the following order: Xylenes > Ethylbenzene > Toluene > Benzene. The BTEX adsorption capacities were improved from 8% to 15% with the addition of boric acid compared to the virgin. Surface functionalized using citric acid exhibited the total adsorption capacity of 142 mg/g with an increment of 40.5% compared to virgin OMC.