Theses and Dissertations



Mlsna, Todd E.

Committee Member

Pittman, Charles U., Jr.

Committee Member

Wipf, David O.

Committee Member

Mlsna, Debra A.

Committee Member

Stokes, Sean

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible MSU only 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry


Ensuring the safety of drinking water, treating wastewater, and remediating soil are ongoing global concerns. Adsorption is a favorable substitute for traditional methods including coagulation, precipitation, membrane separation, and ion-exchange in water purification. Biochar-based sorbents are cheap and effective due to high density surface functional groups, which can retain a wide range of chemicals. This dissertation focused on three main projects involving magnetite (Fe3O4) and struvite/struvite-K (MgNH4PO4.6H2O/MgKPO4.6H2O) deposited high surface area Douglas fir biochar (DFBC) based engineered material for water and soil remediation. Chapter II focuses on toxic arsenic (V) contaminated wastewater remediation using magnetite particles dispersed Douglas fir biochar. This chapter highlights the effect of pH, adsorption kinetics, isotherms, particle sizes, ionic strength, the impact of competitive ions and fixed-bed column sorption on As(V) removal and redox transformation of As(III) to As(V) during the adsorption in a wide range of pHs. Moreover, Mössbauer spectroscopy was used to analyze the composition of Fe3O4 particles formed on Fe3O4/DFBC. Furthermore, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies were conducted to study As(V) adsorption onto Fe3O4/DFBC at a wide range of solution pHs to verify the predominant As adsorption mechanisms. Chapter III focuses on challenging per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminated water remediation at low concentrations using Fe3O4/DFBC. In this work, we used classical adsorption techniques to purify PFAS contaminated water. Chapter IV is focused on remediation of depleted soil using struvite/struvite-K- modified Douglas fir biochar (BCF). In this study, we examined the leaching rates of PO43-, NH4+, K+, and Mg2+ from BCF in different water matrices, different temperatures, and a wide range of pHs. Greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate the performances of BCF.