Tailoring the textural properties of an activated carbon for enhancing its adsorption capacity towards diclofenac from aqueous solution

  • Adriana I. Moral-Rodríguez
  • Roberto Leyva-RamosEmail author
  • Conchi O. Ania
  • Raul Ocampo-Pérez
  • Elizabeth D. Isaacs-Páez
  • Damarys H. Carrales-Alvarado
  • Jose B. Parra
Research Article


A series of activated carbons (ACs) were prepared by modifying a commercial AC by physical activation using CO2 during different activation times. The ACs were designated as F, F12, F24, and F40 corresponding to the activation times of 0, 12, 24, and 40 h, respectively. The surface area, total pore volume, micropore volume, and mean micropore width were determined for all the ACs. The textural properties of the modified ACs increased substantially with the activation time, and the capacity of the ACs for adsorbing diclofenac (DCF) was almost linearly dependent upon the surface area of the ACS. The maximum adsorption capacities of F, F12, F24, and F40 carbons towards diclofenac (DCF) from aqueous solution were 271, 522, 821, and 1033 mg/g, respectively. Hence, the adsorption capacities of ACs were considerably enhanced with the activation time, and F12, F24, and F40 carbons presented the highest adsorption capacities towards DCF reported in the technical literature. The F40 adsorption capacity was at least twice those of other carbon materials. The adsorption capacities decreased by raising the pH from 7 to 11 due to electrostatic repulsion between the ACs surface and anionic DCF in solution. The removal of DCF from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent was effectively carried out by adsorption on F40. Hence, the capacity of ACs for adsorbing DCF can be optimized by tailoring the porous structure of ACs.


Activated carbon Adsorption CO2 activation Diclofenac Microporosity Tailoring porosity 


Funding information

This work was supported by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia, CONACyT, Mexico (grants numbers INFR-2012-01-188381 and CB-2012-02-182779). COA and JBP thank the support of the Spanish MINECO (grant number CTM2014/56770-R).

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 54 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana I. Moral-Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Roberto Leyva-Ramos
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  • Conchi O. Ania
    • 2
  • Raul Ocampo-Pérez
    • 1
  • Elizabeth D. Isaacs-Páez
    • 1
  • Damarys H. Carrales-Alvarado
    • 1
  • Jose B. Parra
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación y Estudios de PosgradoFacultad de Ciencias Químicas, UASLPSan Luis PotosíMéxico
  2. 2.POR2E Group, CEMHTI (UPR 3079) CNRS, Univ. OrléansOrléansFrance
  3. 3.Instituto Nacional del Carbón (INCAR, CSIC)OviedoSpain

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