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Polymer Supported Carbon for Safe and Effective Remediation of PFAS-Contaminated Water

revised on 04.04.2019, 23:24 and posted on 05.04.2019, 16:13 by Nicholas Lundquist, Martin Sweetman, Kymberley Scroggie, Max Worthington, Louisa Esdaile, Salah Alboaiji, Sally Plush, John Hayball, Justin Chalker

Powdered activated carbon (PAC) is an economical sorbent for removing micropollutants from water, but it generates hazardous dust that is flammable and a respiration hazard. Additionally, the fine particles of PAC can cake and block filters and membranes, complicating its use in continuous processes. In this study, we present a sulfur polymer support for PAC that overcomes these problems. The blend of the sulfur polymer and PAC generates low dust and it does not block filters. The utility of the sorbent is demonstrated in the remediation of water contaminated with perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs)—persistent micropollutants that currently threaten water safety worldwide. Fundamental discoveries of PFAS self-assembly are reported, as well as testing on field samples.


South Australian Defence Innovation Partnership

Australian Government National Environmental Science Programme Emerging Priorities Funding


Email Address of Submitting Author


Flinders University



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Five authors are inventors on patents and patent applications related to this research. J.M.C and M.J.H.W are inventors on a patent describing the synthesis and uses of the sulfur polymer featured in this research (WO 2017181217. Priority Application AU 2016-901470, April 20 2016). M.J.S., S.E.P., J.D.H. and J.M.C. are inventors on a provisional patent application describing the carbon-polymer blends and their applications, including PFOA sorption (Application AU 2018-902544, July 13 2018).