The equilibria of bisolute sorption on soil

Baohua Xiao, Weilin Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of both concentration levels and loading sequence or contamination history of each pollutant on the equilibrium sorption of mixed organic pollutants on soils. We measured binary sorption equilibria for a soil using ten concentration levels for both phenanthrene and naphthalene. Both solutes were either simultaneously loaded or sequentially loaded (i.e., the second sorbate was loaded after the sorption of the first sorbate had attained equilibrium) on soil. The results showed different competitive sorption equilibria between phenanthrene and naphthalene. In the presence of phenanthrene and regardless of loading sequence, naphthalene exhibited consistently lower sorption capacities and the ideal adsorbed solution theory (IAST) slightly underestimates the naphthalene sorption equilibria. Conversely, the sorption equilibria of phenanthrene in the presence of naphthalene depended upon the loading sequence of the two sorbates on the soil. Little competition from naphthalene on the sorption equilibria of phenanthrene was observed when phenanthrene was loaded either simultaneously with or sequentially after naphthalene, but appreciable competition from naphthalene was observed when the soil had been pre-contaminated with phenanthrene. IAST slightly underestimates the phenanthrene sorption equilibria observed in the latter system, but it cannot estimate the phenanthrene sorption equilibria in the former two systems. We proposed that adsorption on internal surfaces of ink-bottle shaped pores within relatively flexible sorbent matrix may have caused the competitive sorption phenomena observed in this study. The study suggests that contamination history may have strong influence on the equilibrium sorption of organic pollutant mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1013
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Competitive sorption
  • Contamination history
  • Naphthalene
  • Phenanthrene
  • Soil


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