Remediation of phenol-contaminated water by adsorption using poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)

Ala'a H. Al-Muhtaseb*, Khalid A. Ibrahim, Ahmad B. Albadarin, Omar Ali-khashman, Gavin M. Walker, Mohammad N.M. Ahmad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Recently polymeric adsorbents have been emerging as highly effective alternatives to activated carbons for pollutant removal from industrial effluents. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), polymerized using the atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) technique has been investigated for its feasibility to remove phenol from aqueous solution. Adsorption equilibrium and kinetic investigations were undertaken to evaluate the effect of contact time, initial concentration (10-90. mg/L), and temperature (25-55°C). Phenol uptake was found to increase with increase in initial concentration and agitation time. The adsorption kinetics were found to follow the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. The intraparticle diffusion analysis indicated that film diffusion may be the rate controlling step in the removal process. Experimental equilibrium data were fitted to five different isotherm models namely Langmuir, Freundlich, Dubinin-Radushkevich, Temkin and Redlich-Peterson by non-linear least square regression and their goodness-of-fit evaluated in terms of mean relative error (MRE) and standard error of estimate (SEE). The adsorption equilibrium data were best represented by Freundlich and Redlich-Peterson isotherms. Thermodynamic parameters such as Δ. G° and Δ. H° indicated that the sorption process is exothermic and spontaneous in nature and that higher ambient temperature results in more favourable adsorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption isotherm
  • FTIR
  • Kinetics
  • Phenol
  • Poly(methyl methacrylate)
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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