Graphene-based materials have emerged as alternative adsorbents, but their success in removing pharmaceutical contaminants has been limited due to degradation caused by restacking and limited control over their sizes and porosities. Driven by this issue, in the current study, to counteract the restacking behavior, graphene sheets are supported on a thread/rod-like matrix structure in a boron nitride foam material, and a novel porous composite foam-supported graphene is synthesized. The as-prepared novel composite offers extraordinary features, such as high absorption kinetics, large available surface area, high porosity (>98%), ecofriendliness and cost-effective synthesis, and excellent affinity to emerging pharmaceutical contaminants. When batch-testing graphene-based foam material and porous graphene nanosheets to remove gemfibrozil (GEM) from wastewater samples, rapid adsorption kinetics (<5 min) are exhibited by the graphene-based foam. Column filter studies are conducted for both materials to test their performance in removing GEM from distilled water, synthetic graywater, and actual wastewater. Overall, the foam composite-based filter marginally outperforms the sand-supported graphene filter and significantly outperforms the unsupported graphene filter. A numerical MATLAB model is developed to simulate the reactive solute transport of GEM influent through the foam filter. Also, a formal sensitivity analysis is conducted to identify the key parameters influencing the model results.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Environmental Science(all)