The Open Civil Engineering Journal

ISSN: 1874-1495 ― Volume 14, 2020

Application of ANN Predictive Model for the Design of Batch Adsorbers - Equilibrium Simulation of Cr(VI) Adsorption onto Activated Carbon

Clint Sutherland1, *, Beverly S. Chittoo1, Chintanapalli Venkobachar2
1 Unit for Project Management and Civil Infrastructure Systems, The University of Trinidad and Tobago, San Fernando Campus, Arima, Trinidad and Tobago
2 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of the West Indies, Saint Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago (WI)



Escalation of industrial processes continues to increase the concentrations of Cr(VI) in wastewater above permissible discharge limits. Persistent exposure to Cr(VI)may result in deleterious effects on human health, aquatic life, and the environment. Laboratory-scale adsorption studies have proven effective in achieving the low treatment levels demanded by statutory authorities. The eventual design of the pilot and full-scale systems hinges on the ability to predict adsorption behavior mathematically.


The objective of this study is to elucidate the mechanism of Cr(VI) adsorption and to develop an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model capable of accurately simulating complex multi-layered adsorption processes.


Batch equilibrium experiments were conducted for the removal of Cr(VI) by activated carbon. Conventional two and three-parameter equilibrium models such as the Langmuir, Freundlich, Sips, original BET and modified BET were used to simulate the data and expound the mechanism of adsorption. An ANN model was constructed with the built-in effect of the residual Cr(VI) concentration for the prediction of the equilibrium sorption capacity.


The modified BET model was most successful at predicting the monolayer coverage. However, the model failed to capture the complex shape of the isotherm at higher initial concentrations. The highest correlation to the equilibrium data was revealed by the ANN model (R2 = 0.9984).


A batch adsorber was successfully designed using mass balance, and incorporating the predictive ability of the ANN model. In spite of the ANN’s ability to simulate the adsorption process, it provides little insight into the mechanism of adsorption. However, its ability to accurately predict Cr(VI) removal enables the up-scaling of the adsorption processes to pilot and full-scale design.

Keywords: Activated Carbon, Chromium (VI), Equilibrium, Adsorption, Artificial Neural Network, Batch Adsorber.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 13
First Page: 69
Last Page: 81
Publisher Id: TOCIEJ-13-69
DOI: 10.2174/1874149501913010069

Article History:

Received Date: 05/03/2019
Revision Received Date: 18/05/2019
Acceptance Date: 30/05/2019
Electronic publication date: 30/06/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Sutherland et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to the author at the Unit for Project Management and Civil Infrastructure Systems, The University of Trinidad and Tobago, San Fernando Campus, Arima, Trinidad and Tobago; Tel: +18684975744;
Fax: +18682231621; E-mail:

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