In this work, a new adsorbent material based on the chemical modification of aqai stalk (AS) with hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) was proposed, forming a new material called AS-CTAB. The characterization data from the AS-CTAB adsorbent indicated that the biomass was chemically modified by the surfactant. The prepared material was successfully used as an adsorbent for the removal of Direct Blue 15 (DB-15) and Direct Red 23 (DR-23) from aqueous solutions. For both dyes, adsorption followed the Avrami kinetic model. The kinetic data were better fitted using the nonlinear Avrami fractional model for both dyes. The contact time between the adsorbent and adsorbate was fixed at 180 and 30 min for DB-15 and DR-23, respectively. This remarkable difference of contact time between the dyes with AS-CTAB adsorbent was attributed to the difference in the physicochemical characteristics of the dyes such as size of the molecule, hydrophilic–lipophilic balance, and polar surface area (PA). The Liu isotherm model displayed Qmax of 394.2 and 454.9 mg g−1 for DB-15 and DR-23, respectively, at 45°C. Since the AS-CTAB is not a porous material, electrostatic interaction was the main mechanism involved in the adsorption process for both dyes. The thermodynamic adsorption reaction was shown to be a spontaneous and endothermic process. The AS-CTAB adsorbent was also tested in the treatment of synthetic dye effluents and presented a removal of up to 95.41% of a simulated effluent containing several dyes and high saline concentration.
KEYWORDS: Adsorption, aqai stalks, direct blue 15 and direct red 23, efficient adsorbents