Influence of Sorbate Structure on Nonequilibrium Sorption of Organic Compounds

Mark L. Brusseau, P. Suresh C. Rao

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130 Scopus citations


We investigate the relationship between sorbate structure and nonequilibrium sorption. The rate-limited sorption of compounds representing eight classes of organic chemicals, including chlorinated benzenes, unsubstituted and alkyl-substituted aromatics, chlorinated ethenes and ethanes, chlorinated phenols, nitrogen heterocycles, s-triazines, substituted amides, and substituted ureas, was examined by use of a single sorbent (sandy aquifer material) and the miscible displacement technique. The breakthrough curves were analyzed by using a bicontinuum model wherein sorption is assumed instantaneous for a fraction of the sorbent and rate limited for the remainder. Sorbate structure was shown to exert minimal impact on the nature of rate-limited sorption for nonionic, low-po-larity compounds comprising relatively simple structures and for ionogenic compounds in neutral form. In contrast, sorbate structure appeared to have a significant impact for compounds comprising more complex structures (i.e., pesticides). First-order reverse rate constants determined for the pesticides were at least 1 order of magnitude smaller than those of the non-pesticides. This difference was attributed to differences in degree of constraint on diffusion within the polymeric structure of organic matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1501-1506
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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