Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Physical Science (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Chemistry

Committee Chair

Arpita Saha

Committee Member 1

Karelle Aiken

Committee Member 2

Asli Aslan


The increasing human population and the need for resources for this increasing population have resulted in environmental pollution. Wastes from industries, agriculture, residences, and urbanization have led to contamination of water. In order for the global population to receive clean and safe water, it is necessary that appropriate measures be taken to eliminate hazardous chemicals which include heavy metals, pesticides, and other organic chemicals from water. The overall objective of this study was to determine the ability of biochar to eliminate Tetrakis (Hydroxymethyl) Phosphonium Chloride (THPC) from water. THPC is an organophosphorus salt which is soluble in water and is formed by the reaction of phosphine with formaldehyde in the presence of hydrochloric acid. It is used by textile industries as a flame retardant and creaseresistant for cotton and cellulose fabrics. However trace amounts of THPC from industrial effluent can make its way into surface water as observed in Ogeechee River, in Georgia 2011, a possible cause for massive fish kills. Herein, the research investigates the possible elimination process of THPC from water using biochar as a medium of adsorption. Hence, batch adsorption studies were conducted by three biochar dosages, contact time, agitation, temperature and pretreatment of biochar. It was found that the adsorption of THPC on to biochar is favorable at low biochar dosage (1:1 ratio of biochar to THPC). The study also showed THPC adsorption onto 2 biochar is highest at low temperature (20oC). In terms of the agitation speed, the lowest agitation speed of 60 rpm was more favorable for THPC adsorption. The effect of solution pH on THPC adsorption onto biochar was also studied. The result showed that the adsorption capacity of biochar for THPC is highest with both pH > 8 and pH< 5 as compared to neutral pH of biochar. Adsorption of THPC on to biochar followed the Freundlich isotherm showing that biochar is heterogeneous in nature and the adsorption process is favorable. The adsorption fitted best Pseudo-second-order model indicating that THPC adsorption is a chemisorption process. Biochar as a low cost adsorbent medium has shown a promising potential of eliminating THPC from water.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material