AbstractA novel intermittent microwave-assisted carbonization method was developed to prepare bio-char (BWSC) from Durian wood sawdust (BWS). The BWS was further activated using a base-catalytic approach to produce a graphitic form of bio-carbon (BWSAC). A three factor, two-level central composite (CCD) experimental design was used to maximize Pb(II) ion removal from aqueous solution using BWSAC. Three independent variables (initial pH of solution (pH0) ranging from 2 to 8, initial metal ion concentration of Pb(II) cations (C0) ranging from 50 to 100 mg/L, and contact time (Ct) ranging from 10 to 300 min) were consecutively coded as x1, x2, and x3 at three levels (−1, 0 and 1) of the design matrix. The experimental conditions in terms of actual factors were determined to be x1 (pH0) = 5.86, x2 (C0) = 57.77 mg/L, and x3 (temperature) = 53.85 °C, and the resultant Pb(II) ion removal efficiency (y1) obtained was 92.73%, with a model desirability of 0.974. The change in physiochemical properties after carbonization as well as activation was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Brunauer, Emmett and Teller surface area analysis (BET), Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Ultimate analysis, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).