ABSTRACT Continuous adsorption experiments are conducted using fixed-bed adsorption column to evaluate the performance of the adsorbent developed (from activated tamarind seeds) for the removal of Cr(VI) from aqueous solutions and the results obtained are validated with a model developed in this study. The effects of significant parameters such as flow rate, mass of adsorbent, and initial Cr(VI) concentration are studied and breakthrough curves are obtained. As the flow rate increases from 10 to 20 mL min-1, the breakthrough time decreases from 210 to 80 min. As the mass of adsorbent increases, breakthrough time gets delayed. The breakthrough times are obtained as 110, 115 and 210 min for 15, 20 and 25 g of activated tamarind seeds. As the initial Cr(VI) concentration increases from 100 to 200 mgL-1, the break point time decreases from 210 to 45 min. The process parameters for fixed-bed adsorption such as breakthrough time, total percentage removal of Cr(VI), adsorption exhaustion rate and fraction of unused bed length are calculated and the performance of fixed-bed adsorption column is analyzed. The mechanism for Cr(VI) adsorption on activated tamarind seeds is proposed. At low value of solution pH (= 1), the increase in Cr(VI) adsorption is due to the electrostatic attraction between positively charged groups of activated tamarind seeds and the HCrO4-. A mathematical model for fixed-bed adsorption column is proposed by incorporating the effect of velocity variation along the bed length in the existing model. Pore and surface diffusion models are used to describe the intra-particle mechanism for Cr(VI) adsorption. The breakthrough curve obtained theoretically from pore diffusion model and surface diffusion model are compared with experimental results for different operating conditions. The standard deviation values obtained for pore diffusion model and solid diffusion model are 0.111 and 0.214 respectively.
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