Applications of Mathematical Modelling to the Simulation of Multi-Component Adsorption in Activated Carbon Columns


Apparently anomalous effects in multi-component adsorption such as early breakthrough of particular components or their appearance in the outlet stream in higher concentration than in the feed can be qualitatively described and quantitatively predicted by appropriate multi-component adsorption models. Three multi-component adsorption models are presented and compared in their ability to predict experimental breakthrough curves for the adsorption of binary and ternary organic mixtures. A generalized pore diffusion model for multi-component adsorption is presented. Parameters derived by the equivalent solid film model from single-component column breakthrough curves be used to predict multi-component adsorption performance but only within a rather limited range of concentration variation. The generalized pore diffusion model predicts multi-component breakthrough curves within experimental accuracy over a range of operating conditions using literature correlations for axial diffusivity and fluid film mass transfer coefficients together with pore diffusivities characterising the carbon derived from simple batch adsorption experiments. This work is pertinent to purification treatment of domestic and industrial effluents.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Adsorption; Carbon - Activated; Mathematical Models; Water Treatment

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 1978 Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 1978

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