Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

John E. Stubbs, PhD


Guar gum (GG) is a promising product increasingly used in a variety of industries. It is nontoxic, inexpensive, and biodegradable. This research evaluated novel approaches using GG as an adsorbent for aromatic organic water contaminants. The application of GG demonstrated some effectiveness against all contaminants tested. Two brands of GG were tested using 5 different GG treatment strategies. Various experiments demonstrated nearly complete removal of Allura Red dye, Brilliant Blue dye, Erythrosine B dye, Methylene Blue dye, Tartrazine dye, and 2,4-dinitrotoluene; additionally, 78% adsorption was observed for Fast Green dye. GG typically removed less than 10% of toluene, which rapidly volatilizes. The application of pre-hydrated GG significantly outperformed other GG treatment techniques evaluated, and in some instances demonstrated faster adsorption than an equivalent amount of granular activated carbon. Comparatively, the use of dry GG powder required over 1 week to demonstrate appreciable results; methods of GG cleaning, crosslinking, and salification were possible, but did not appear to be substantially better than the results of using the unmodified gum. When dissolved in water, GG has unique spectrum characteristics at wavelengths below 300 nm, likely due to electronic transitions, which vary based on the quantity, age, and brand of GG used. Furthermore, adsorption performance may be correlated with pH; GG usage results in solution pH decrease over time, possibly caused by the production of a member of the carboxylic acid family. Based on these results, GG has proven to be a viable novel adsorbent product for stable non-volatile organic compounds.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number