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Effect of Surface Oxygen Groups on Irreversible Adsorption of Volatile Organic Compounds on Beaded Activated Carbon Open Access


Other title
Surface Oxygen Groups
Activated Carbon
Volatile Organic Compounds
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Mosavari Nezamabad, Nastaran
Supervisor and department
Hashisho, Zaher (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Dhar, Bipro R. (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Gupta, Rajender (Chemical and Material Engineering)
Hashisho, Zaher (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-06:Spring 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
Adsorption by activated carbons is a widely used method for controlling emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, accumulation of adsorbates and/or regeneration by-products (heel buildup) during cyclic process is a common challenge in this process. Irreversible adsorption restricts complete regeneration of adsorbent and reduces its capacity and lifetime. The objective of this research is to understand the impact of surface oxygen groups on heel build-up and adsorption capacity of activated carbon. For this purpose, the content of surface oxygen groups on beaded activated carbon (BAC) was modified by acid treatment and high temperature hydrogen treatment. The BET analysis showed that acid treatment and hydrogen treatment did not have a significant effect on pore size distribution and surface area. However, acid treatment increased the surface oxygen groups and hydrogen treatment decreased the surface oxygen groups’ content of BAC. Then, five-cycle adsorption/regeneration tests with eight compounds with different functional groups were completed on prepared adsorbents. Based on mass balance and thermos-gravimetric analysis, heel build-up for hydrogen treated BAC (BAC-H-950) was similar to heat treated BAC (BAC-400), but lower than that of acid-treated BAC (BAC-O-400). For oxygen deficient samples, it can be concluded that adsorption was due to physisorption as most of adsorbates were desorbed during regeneration. For oxygen-rich samples, surface oxygen groups were consumed through reaction with adsorbates. Moreover, adsorbates with benzene ring formed stronger interaction with surface oxygen groups and showed higher heel relative to other tested adsorabtes. The results of this work will provide a better understanding of irreversible adsorption and its relation to surface chemistry of adsorbents.
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