Estimating the relative magnitudes of adsorption to solid-water and air/oil-water interfaces for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.
By Mark L Brusseau
September 9, 2019
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have attracted considerable concern due to their widespread occurrence in the environment and potential human health risks. Given the complexity of PFAS retention in multi-phase systems, it would be useful for characterization and modeling purposes to be able to readily determine the relative significance of the individual retention processes for a given PFAS and set of subsurface conditions. A quantitative-structure/property-relationship (QSPR) analysis was conducted for adsorption of PFAS by soils, sediments, and granular activated carbon (GAC), and integrated with a prior analysis conducted for adsorption to air-water and oil-water interfaces. The results demonstrated that a model employing molar volume provided reasonable predictions of organic-carbon normalized soil/sediment adsorption coefficients (log K), GAC-adsorption coefficients (log K), and air/oil-water interfacial adsorption coefficients (log K) for PFAS. The relative magnitudes of solid-water and air/oil-water interfacial adsorption were compared as a function of controlling variables. A nomograph was developed that provides a first-order determination of the relative significance of these interfacial adsorption processes in multi-phase porous-media systems.