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|The gold concentration profiles which develop inside the activated carbon particles during the adsorption process were measured, so as to obtain additional direct proof of intra-particle mass transfer rate-control and to determine how individual carbon particles in a population vary in their gold uptake behaviour. The observed gold concentration profiles inside the activated carbon particles were typical of situations where an intra-particle mass transfer mechanism is rate-controlling. Gold di-cyanide penetrated the carbon particles with a wave-like front until it was uniformly distributed throughout the particle. This corresponds with the profiles predicted by the film and surface diffusion model. However, the rate with which gold di-cyanide was transported inside the individual carbon particles varied within the population of carbon particles. This variation was characterized by a lognormal distribution in surface diffusivity. Because the estimated variances of these surface diffusivity distributions were small, the dynamic adsorption behaviour of the carbons used in the present study did not deviate significantly from that predicted by a model based on film mass transfer and a single surface diffusivity. Van Deventer (1984, 1985 and 1986a) reported data that could not be adequately described by a model based on film mass transfer and a single surface diffusivity. In this study a model based on film mass transfer and a wide lognormal distribution of surface diffusivity values was applied to his data. It was shown that a population of carbon particles with a wide distribution in surface diffusivity values could offer an alternative explanation to the mechanism proposed by Van Deventer which was based on film mass transfer, with partitioning of the carbon into micro- and macropores with surface diffusion in the macropores and slow mass transfer into the micropores.|