Non-thermal plasma, also named cold plasma, finds applications in industrial, environmental and health sectors. Non-thermal plasma is a remarkable catalysing and dissociating agent because the gas occurs at room temperature with energies ranging from 1 to 10 electron volts. Here, we studied the activation of carbon granules from peat soil by a flying jet plasma torch. Samples of peat soil were collected from 50- to 70-cm-deep layer and dried for two nights at 70 °C, then carbonized for 4 h at 800 °C and sieved at 2 mm. The carbon particles were then treated by the jet plasma torch. Surface morphology of the raw and treated granules was monitored by a scan electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) and transition electron microscopy (TEM). Results show considerable changes in the surface morphology and chemical composition. Oxygen mass percentage increased, suggesting an increase of carbonyl C=O groups and thus higher polarity and solubility in polar liquids. BET data show an increase in the active surface area from 1069 to 1270 m2/g. TEM images display carbon nanostructures resembling carbon nanotubes. Overall, our findings reveal a cost-effective technique, operated at room temperature, to produce carbon nanoparticles, compared with traditional heating activation processes.
Flying jet plasma Granulated activated carbon Carbon nanostructures Scan electron microscopy Transition electron microscopy Brunauer–Emmett–Teller
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Authors acknowledge Dr Ghulam Murshid (Sultan Qaboos University), Sausan Al Yaqoobi and Dhia Omran for assistance in analyses.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing financial interest.
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