Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Todd E. Mlsna

Committee Member

Charles U. Pittman Jr.

Committee Member

David O. Wipf

Committee Member

Debra A. Mlsna

Committee Member

Dongmao Zhang

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Complete embargo for 1 year

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry


Providing safe drinking water and wastewater remediation are constant worldwide challenges. Adsorption is an attractive alternative to conventional techniques such as coagulation, precipitation (chemically or electrochemically), hybrid membranes, and ion-exchange for the purification of water. Biochar-based composite sorbents are increasingly popular because a range of surface chemical and physical treatments can impart performance and environmental benefits to the material. This is ideal for rural areas where more costly conventional methods may not be readily available or affordable. This dissertation focused on three different projects involving high surface area (~700 m2/g) Douglas fir biochar based multifunctional engineered adsorbents. Chapter II focuses on arsenic (III) adsorptive removal onto magnetic iron oxide dispersed onto biochar. This chapter highlights the adsorptive and redox properties of biochar composites for pollutant toxicity reduction. Chapter III focuses on pollutant toxicity neutralization after adsorption, simultaneous adsorption, and multi-phase adsorption. A MIL-53-MOF magnetite/magnetic biochar composite model system was used to demonstrate simultaneous chromium (VI) adsorption and organic pollutant rhodamine (RhB) degradation. Chapter IV is focused on tailoring the biochar to change its physical properties (enhance hydrophobicity) to achieve a specific pollutant treatment requirement (buoyancy). Oil spill remediation was used as a model example for this purpose and lauric acid-decorated magnetite biochar composite was introduced. The composites and their pollutant-loaded analogues were extensively characterized using BET, SEM, TEM, EDS, XRD, VSM, PZC, Elemental analysis, TGA, DSC, FT-IR and XPS.