Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 53–64 | Cite as

Simulating the Sorptive Removal of Dissolved Copper by Biocarrier Beads



Biocarrier beads containing the dead biomass of Bacillus drentensis immobilized in polymer polysulfone were synthesized in order to remove heavy metals from wastewater. A series of batch experiments were carried out to identify the sorption mechanisms and the theoretical nature of the underlying processes. A mathematical model was developed to simulate the fate and transport of copper ions in a saturated fixed bed packed with biocarrier beads. Mass balance equations were established to represent the migration and distribution of metal ions in the biocarrier beads and the surrounding bulk liquid. Numerical experiments were performed using the proposed model for quantitative analysis of the temporal changes in the distribution of copper ions in and around the biocarrier beads in a fixed bed. The simulation results show that the biosorption of heavy metals by the biocarrier beads depends largely on surface adsorption. A sensitivity analysis was carried out on the major design parameters in a fixed bed. The effects of bed height, flow velocity, and influent concentration were examined by assessing a simulated breakthrough curve. The breakthrough time occurs earlier for a decreasing bed height and increasing flow velocity and influent Cu(II) concentration, whereas the slope at 50 % breakthrough becomes steeper as the flow velocity increases and the influent concentration decreases. The simulation results show that the proposed mathematical model can provide a quantitative analysis of the distribution of metal adsorbate in and around porous particulate adsorbents in a fixed bed and that it can be used as an effective predictive tool.


Biocarrier beads Copper ions Mathematical model Biosorption Fixed bed 



This work was supported by the Energy Efficiency and Resources of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea government Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (No. 20132010201760).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth Environmental SciencesPukyong National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Energy Resources EngineeringPukyong National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea

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