, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 473-481
Date: 03 Dec 2010

Benzene and toluene adsorption at low concentration on activated carbon fibres

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The present study analyses the preparation of activated carbon fibres (ACFs) by the so-called “physical” activation method with steam or carbon dioxide and their application for benzene and toluene adsorption at low concentration (200 ppmv). ACFs have been scarcely studied for the adsorption of these pollutants at low concentration in gaseous phase, despite their interesting features regarding adsorption kinetics, bed pressure drop, possibility of conformation and others. Our results have shown that the preparation method used is suitable to produce ACFs with high adsorption capacities for benzene and toluene at the low concentration used. The fibre morphology of the ACFs does not enhance their performance, which results to be similar to other non-fibrous activated carbons such as granular, pellets and powders. Such good performance of the ACFs, leading to benzene and toluene adsorption capacities as large as 31 g benzene/100 g ACF or 53 g toluene/100 g ACF, can be explained due to their large volume of narrow micropores (<0.7 nm) developed upon activation and their low content in surface oxygen groups. Our results have also shown very good agreement between the adsorption results derived from dynamic adsorption experiments and from adsorption isotherms. As the relative pressure of the organic compound increases the corresponding fraction of narrow micropore volumes filled by benzene and toluene increases. For a given low and comparable relative pressure, toluene always occupies a larger fraction of narrow micropores than benzene.