Effect of pyrolysis conditions on bone char characterization and its ability for arsenic and fluoride removal

Susan S.A. Alkurdi, Raed A. Al-Juboori, Jochen Bundschuh*, Les Bowtell, Stafford McKnight

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined arsenite [As(III)], arsenate [As(V)] and fluoride (F) removal potential of bone char produced from sheep (Ovis aries) bone waste. Pyrolysis conditions tested were in the 500 °C–900 °C range, for a holding time of 1 or 2 h, with or without N2 gas purging. Previous bone char studies mainly focused on either low or high temperature range with limited information provided on As(III) removal. This study aims to address these gaps and provide insights into the effect of pyrolysis conditions on bone char sorption capacity. A range of advanced chemical analyses were employed to track the change in bone char properties. As pyrolysis temperature and holding time increased, the resulting pH, surface charge, surface roughness, crystallinity, pore size and CEC all increased, accompanied by a decrease in the acidic functional groups and surface area. Pyrolysis temperature was a key parameter, showing improvement in the removal of both As(III) and As(V) as pyrolysis temperature was increased, while As(V) removal was higher than As(III) removal overall. F removal displayed an inverse relationship with increasing pyrolysis temperature. Bone char prepared at 500 °C released significantly more dissolved organic carbon (DOC) then those prepared at a higher temperature. The bone protein is believed to be a major factor. The predominant removal mechanisms for As were surface complexation, precipitation and interaction with nitrogenous functional groups. Whereas F removal was mainly influenced by interaction with oxygen functional groups and electrostatic interaction. This study recommends that the bone char pyrolysis temperature used for As and F removal are 900 °C and 650 °C, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114221
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Arsenic
  • Bone char
  • Fluoride
  • Pyrolysis conditions
  • Surface chemistry


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