Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Leon Thiem


A study was conducted to investigate carbon adsorption of specific priority pollutants, (2,4 Dimethylphenol, Naphthalene, Fluorene, Pyrene, Bis(2-ethylhexyl phthalate) in a complex mixture background, using laboratory and pilot scale reactors for data generation, and various numerical computer models for data evaluation and subsequent prediction. Prediction of adsorption using intra-particle diffusion resistance (surface model and combined surface and pore diffusion model) was more successful using the combined surface and pore diffusion model than by using the surface model alone. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) was selected as a complex mixture surrogate to evaluate any competitive effect due to individual components in the complex background mixture. Prediction of batch and packed bed adsorption of each of the specific priority organics that were studied was successful when the IAS model was adjusted by evaluating the adsorption equilibrium constants in a complex mixture background. Results from the laboratory scale experiments were verified by a pilot plant study utilizing 4 inch diameter by 3 feet deep carbon contactors with empty bed contact time of 1.75 and 3,75 minutes treating 2,4-dimethylphenol present in a complex mixture background consisting of a domestic secondary treatment effluent.