Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Gregory D. Hammond, PhD.


Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), like perfluorooctanoic acid, have been used for the last 50 years in a wide variety of industrial processes and consumer-based products, including polymer additives, lubricants, fire retardants and suppressants, pesticides, and surfactants (Buck et al. 2015). The Department of Defense (DoD) has used PFAS-based Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) at fire training facilities and aircraft hangars. AFFF has contaminated approximately 600 sites classified as fire training facilities with PFAS (Huang, 2013).

This study focused on testing the most likely carbonaceous adsorbent compounds to remediate PFAS-contaminated sites on Air Force installations. Batch tests were performed to determine the perfluorooctanoic acid adsorptive characteristics, both in capacity and rate, of conventional granular activated carbon (GAC), primitive carbon materials, and advanced carbon materials. GAC was found to remove PFAS from aqueous solution well. Biochar and CNT materials exhibited less adsorption than GAC but demonstrated some capability. Variability in controls made precise quantitative comparisons difficult. Analysis of the data collected lead to an investigation of sample prep techniques and found that low sample volumes and large dilutions ratios contribute to variability. When preparing large quantities of samples, manually pipetting small volumes can present a challenge for the technician. Automated devices that can repeatedly mix and dilute samples prior to analysis should be considered to reduce variability.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number