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Adsorption is a process where one or more components of a liquid or gas are adsorbed on

the solid surface of an adsorbent. The adsorption of a compound in an adsorbent usually happens

in a two-step process: the transport through the film to the particle’s outside surface and the

diffusion into the porous particles (Neretnieks, 1976). Adsorption can be used in the removal of

organic compounds from water or organic solutions, removal of water from hydrocarbon gases,

sulfur compounds from natural gas, solvents from air and other gases, food product decolorization

etc. Normally, adsorbents are small pellets, beads, or granules ranging from about 0.1 mm to 12

mm in size. Examples of these are, activated carbon, silica gel, activated alumina, molecular sieve

zeolites, and synthetic polymers or resins (Geankoplis, 1995).

Adsorption is a very useful method in solving sludge disposal problems especially when

cheap adsorbents are used. Activated carbon are low cost and readily available adsorbents that can

be used in the removal of heavy metals from indsutrial wastewater. They have high surface areas

and microporous structures which are made by thermal decomposition of wood, vegetable shells,

coal, etc. The amount of substance that can be absorbed on activated carbon is dependent on factors

such as the nature of the substance and its concentration, the surface structure of the activated

carbon, and temperature and pH of the water (Yavuz, Orbak, & Karatepe, 2007).

Adsoprtion is usually modeled using isotherms, wherein it shows the ratio between the

quantity adsorbed and the remaining in soluion at fixed temperatures at equilibrium. The simplest

type of relationship which describes the adsorption equation are the Freundlich and the Langmuir

isotherms (Igwe & Abia, 2007).

Figure 1. Common types of adsorption isotherms (Source: Geankoplis, 1995)

The Langmuir isotherm assumes a uniform surface. It suggests that the adsorbate uptake

occurs by monolayer soprtion without interaction among the adsorbate and can be represented by

its linearized form:

1 1 1
= +
𝑞𝑒 𝑄 𝑄𝑏𝐶𝑒

where qe is the adsorbate adsorbed per unit weight of adsorbent at equilibrium (mg/g), Ce is the

equilibrium concentration of the adsorbate in solution (mg/L), Q is the monolayer adsorption

capacity (mg/g), and b is a constant related to free energy or net enthalpy of adsorption.

Freundlich isotherm on the other hand describes an adsorption system in equilibrium

wherein the surfaces are heterogeneous thus monolayer characteristics of the surface cannot be

assumed. The linearized equation is:

log 𝑞𝑒 = log 𝐾𝐹 + 𝑙𝑜𝑔𝐶𝑒

where qe is the amount of adsorbate adsorbed per unit weight of adsorbent (mg/g), Ce is the

equilibrium concentration of the adsorbate in solution (mg/L), KF is the relative adsorption

capacity constant of the adsorbent (mg/g) and 1/n is the adsorption intensity (Muryanto &

Djatmiko Hadi, 2004).

Eriochrome black-T (EBT) is an azo dye used in dyeing

silk, wool and nylon multifibers. It is also used as indicator in

determining Ca2+, Mg2+ and Zn2+, and for biological staining.

Researches have been conducted for the removal of EBT from

wastewater as it is reported to be a hazardous dye and its

Figure 2. Chemical Structure of EBT
degradation products are carcinogenic (Moeinpour, Alimoradi, Source: PubChem

& Kazemi, 2014).


General: To study the adsorptive removal of Eriochrome Black T (EBT) from a solution using

activated carbon from bamboo sawdust.


1. To study the effect of varying pH on the adsorption of EBT.

2. To compare the percent removal of EBT on varying pH.

Scope and Limitations

The experiment entitled Biochar Adsorption Experiment was conducted to determine the

adsorption capacity of the bamboo saw dust activated carbon from Jareol, et al.’s Special Problem

in an EBT solution with varying pH values of 4 and 6. The samples were obtained at the School

of Technology. Particle size of activated carbon was assumed to be uniform. The shaker/agitator

from Jareol’s group was used to agitate the solutions simultaneously within twenty (20) min. An

ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) spectrophotometer was used to read the absorbance at 540 nm

wavelength. The filter paper used was Whatman number 2. Three replicates for each pH value

were prepared. It was assumed that surrounding temperature was at standard room temperature

reading of 250C.

Systematic error was a factor in data gathering especially on the use of the UV-VIS

spectrophotometer since the equipment used is outdated. Personal error was expected on the

preparation of solutions.



50 ppm of EBT solution, 0.1 M of NaOH solution, 0.1 M of HCl solution, 500 g of activated

carbon, 6 filter papers, 10 mL test tubes, test tube rack, test tube brush, beaker, funnel,

shaker/agitator, analytical balance, pH meter, pipette, rubber stopper, and UV-VIS



EBT solutions of 25ppm, 50ppm, 75ppm, 100ppm, and 125ppm were prepared from a

stock solution of 200ppm. Each EBT solution was loaded into the UV-VIS spectrophotometer and

absorbance was measured. A graph of absorbance versus concentration was generated using the

data obtained.

Figure 3. Eriochrome black T dye Figure 4. Bamboo sawdust charcoal

An EBT solution of 50ppm was prepared by dissolving 50 mg of EBT in 1 L of distilled

water. Two 200 mL of the solution were transferred in separate beakers and were labelled solution

A and B. The pH of solution A was adjusted to 4 by gradually adding 0.1M HCl, pH of solution B

was adjusted to 6 by gradually adding 0.1M NaOH. The increase or decrease in pH was monitored

using a pH meter which was calibrated by the Lab technician prior to testing.

Figure 5. EBT solution samples Figure 6. EBT solution sample with

(light red is pH 4, dark blue is pH 6) activated carbon)

Three 10 mL samples were taken for each pH and were set aside in a test tube rack. 0.1 g

of activated carbon was added to the 6 solutions and were securely sealed to prevent spillage during

agitation. The samples were placed in the manual shaker and were agitated simultaneously for 20

min. The samples were individually filtered, and were loaded in the UV-VIS spectrophotometer

to measure absorbance.

Results and Discussion

Table 1 shows the different absorbance values of different EBT concentrations at 540nm

wavelength using a UV-VIS spectrophotometer. As the EBT concentration increases, the

absorbance value also increases as presented in Figure 1 where it shows a linear graph having an

equation of the line of y=0.0062x+0.0848 with an R2 value of 0.9612.

Absorbance vs Concentration Curve

Absorbance at 540 nm wavelength

y = 0.0063x + 0.0748
0.8 R² = 0.9706




0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
EBT Concentration (ppm)

Figure 7. Absorbance vs EBT Concentration curve

Table 1. Absorbance of Standard Solutions

Concentration Absorbance
(540 nm wavelength)
25ppm 0.288

50ppm 0.462

75ppm 0.588

100ppm 0.673

125ppm 0.834

Figure 2 shows the % removal of EBT solution at 50ppm vs pH. At pH 4 the % removal

of the EBT solution is 0.571% and at pH 6 is 0.413%. This was calculated from the gathered data

presented in table 2. From this data, outliers can be seen and thus were not included in the

calculation since it will affect the results of the experiment. The errors may come from the

instrument used in reading the absorbance in this case the UV-VIS spectrophotometer which is

outdated, the filter paper used might have allowed small particles of activated carbon to pass

through and remain in the solution, and personal errors in preparing the solution samples.

From the results obtained, it can be inferred that at lower pH, % removal of EBT is higher.

This is consistent with the results on the study of Jareol’s group which mentioned that at pH 4

absorbance is higher compared to that of pH 6.

% removal of EBT vs pH


pH 4 pH 6

Figure 4. Percent removal of EBT vs pH

Table 2. Absorbance of 50ppm EBT solution at varying pH

pH 4 pH 6
Trial 1 0.654 0.419

Trial 2 0.388 0.438

Trial 3 0.433 0.358

Average 0.388 0.3885

% removal 0.571 % 0.413 %

Conclusion and Recommendation

The effect of varying pH was observed and studied in the experiment. As seen in the results,

varying the pH of the EBT solution has an effect on the adsorptive removal of EBT using activated

carbon from bamboo sawdust. Solution at pH 4 has higher percent removal with 0.571 % compared

to that of pH 6 with percent removal of only 0.413%. This only validates the study done by Jareol’s

group wherein the results are almost consistent.

It is recommended that the UV-VIS spectrophotometer should be calibrated if not replaced

to improve data accuracy. An appropriate filter paper with pores smaller compared to the particle

size of activated carbon should be used to ensure that the filtrate is completely separated from the


Geankoplis, C. J. (1995). Transport Processes and Unit Operations. Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Igwe, J. C., & Abia, A. (2007). Adsoprtion isotherm studies of Cd (II), Pb (II), and Zn (II) ions
bioremediation from aqueous solution using unmodified and EDTA-modified maize cob.
Moeinpour, F., Alimoradi, A., & Kazemi, M. (2014). Efficient removal of Eriochrome black-T
from aqueous solution using NiFe2O4 magnetic nanoparticles. Journal of Environmental
Health Science & Engineering.
Muryanto, S., & Djatmiko Hadi, S. (2004). Adsoprtion laboratory experiment for undergraduate
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Yavuz, R., Orbak, I., & Karatepe, N. (2007). Factors affecting the adsoprtion of chromium (VI)
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Sample Calculation of Percent Removal
At pH 4 absorbance 0.388
𝑦 = 0.0063𝑥 + 0.0748
0.388 = 0.0063𝑥 + 0.0748
𝑥 = 49.714 𝑝𝑝𝑚
𝐶𝑖 − 𝐶𝑜 50 − 49.714
%𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑎𝑙 = 𝑥 100 = 𝑥 100 = 𝟎. 𝟓𝟕𝟏%
𝐶𝑜 50