The adsorption mechanism of pure cellulose is yet to be explored. Thus, in this study, the adsorption mechanism of Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC), a polysaccharide which is renewable, low cost and non-toxic, was studied on the adsorption of model dye Methylene blue (MB). It was found that the main adsorption mechanism of MB on MCC was due to the electrostatic attraction between the positively charged MB dye and negatively charged MCC. Thus, physical adsorption was the dominant effect, since electrostatic attraction is categorized as physical adsorption. This was verified by Dubinin-Radushkevich isotherm, whereby mean free energy adsorption value was found to be less than 8 kJ/mol. The values of Gibbs free energy for thermodynamics studies were found to be within the range of -20 kJ/mol and 0 kJ/mol, which also indicated physical adsorption. It was due to the electrostatic attraction as adsorption mechanism of this adsorption process which resulted rapid adsorption of MB dye. It was found that equilibrium dye concentration was achieved between 1-3 minutes, depending on the adsorption temperature. The rapid adsorption, as compared to a lot of materials, showed the potential of MCC as the future of green adsorbent. The adsorption of Methylene Blue on MCC fitted well in Langmuir Isotherm, with R2 values of higher than 0.99, while fitted moderately in Freundlich Isotherm, with R2 values between 0.9224 and 0.9223. Comparatively, the adsorption of MB on MCC fitted best Langmuir Isotherm as compared to Freundlich Isotherm which monolayer adsorption occurred at the homogenous surface of MCC. This also indicated adsorbed MB molecules do not interact with each other at neighboring adsorption sites. The maximum adsorption capacity calculated from Langmuir Isotherm was found to be 4.95 mg/g. Despite the potential of MCC as green adsorbent, the challenge of low adsorption capacity has to be addressed in the future.

Kok Bing Tan, Ahmad Zuhairi Abdullah, Bahman Amini Horri and Babak Salamatinia