Adsorption of aromatic compounds, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrobenzenes, phenols, and anilines, on a bamboo biochar produced at 700 °C (Ba700) was investigated with the mechanism discussion by isotherm fitting using the Polanyi-theory based Dubinin-Ashtakhov (DA) model. Correlations of adsorption capacity (Q(0)) of organic compounds with their molecular sizes and melting points, as well as correlations of adsorption affinity (E) with their solvatochromic parameters (i.e., π* and αm), on the biochar, were developed and indicating that adsorption is captured by the pore filling mechanism and derived from the hydrophobic effects of organic compounds and the forming of π-π electron donor-acceptor (EDA) interactions and hydrogen bonding interactions of organic molecules with surface sites of the biochar. The effects of organic molecular sizes and melting points on adsorption capacity are ascribed to the molecular sieving effect and the packing efficiency of the organic molecules in the biochar pores, respectively. These correlations can be used to quantitatively estimate the adsorption of organic compounds on biochars from their commonly physicochemical properties including solvatochromic parameters, melting points and molecular cross-sectional area. The prediction using these correlations is important for assessing the unknown adsorption behaviors of new organic compounds and also helpful to guide the surface modification of biochars and make targeted selection in the environmental applications of biochars as adsorbents.
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