Gemini surfactants, with double hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups, offer potentially orders of magnitude greater surface activity compared to similar single unit molecules. A cationic Gemini surfactant (Propyl didodecyldimethylammonium Bromide, PDDDAB) and a conventional cationic surfactant (Dodecyltrimethylammonium Bromide, DTAB) were used to pre-treat and generate activated carbon. The removal efficiency of the surfactant-modified activated carbon through adsorption of chromium(VI) was investigated under controlled laboratory conditions. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to investigate the surface changes of surfactant-modified activated carbon. The effect of important parameters such as adsorbent dosage, pH, ionic strength and contact time were also investigated. The chromium(VI) was adsorbed more significantly on the Gemini surfactant-modified activated carbon than on the conventional surfactant-modified activated carbon. The correlation coefficients show the data best fit the Freundlich model, which confirms the monolayer adsorption of chromium(VI) onto Gemini surfactant-modified activated carbon. From this assessment, the surfactant-modified (especially Gemini surfactant-modified) activated carbon in this study showed promise for practical applications to treat water pollution
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