Journal of Porous Materials

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 333–343 | Cite as

Carbon–silica composites prepared by the precipitation method. Effect of the synthesis parameters on textural characteristics and toluene dynamic adsorption

  • Ebenezer Twumasi
  • Mikael Forslund
  • Peter Norberg
  • Christer Sjöström


Three synthesis routes are presented here that leads to carbon–silica composites. These were characterized by nitrogen physisorption, by thermogravimetric analysis and by dynamic toluene adsorption test similar to Ashrae standard I45.1. The carbon–silica composites possess high microporosity and mesoporosity as well as large surface areas. Furthermore, the control of the microporosity as well as pore size distribution is possible because they depend on the amount of carbon used and of the synthesis route. Following routes I and III a wide micro-mesoporous pore size (1–32 nm) was obtained where as by route II narrow micro-mesoporous pore size (1–4 nm) was observed. In addition, pore diameters center in the range of 1.13–1.17 nm was observed when carbon content was 32 or 45 wt%. The dynamic adsorption of toluene was evaluated for carbon–silica composites obtained by three preparation routes at two different carbon contents, 32 and 45 wt% The results showed that a composite with 45 wt% carbon content and obtained via preparation route I gave the highest toluene adsorption capacity (27.6 wt% relative to carbon content). The large uptake capacity of this composite was attributed to the presence of high microporosity volume and a wide (1–32 nm) bimodal pore system consisting of extensive mesopore channels (2–32 nm) as well as large surface area. These capacity values of carbon–silica composites are by weight relative to carbon content and are competitive to, results obtained for commercial coconut activated carbon (31.1 wt%) and significantly better than a commercial alumina-carbon composite (9.5 wt%) at 0% efficiency.


Carbon–silica composites Synthesis parameters Textural characteristics Dynamic adsorption 



Coconut activated carbon


Maximum mesopores size distribution


Maximum micropores size distribution


Nonlocal density functional theory


Relative pressure


Pore size distribution


Precipitated silica–carbon composite


Specific surface area obtained via Brunauer-Emmet-Teller-equation


Mesoporous surface area obtained via t-plot


Micropore surface area obtained via t-plot


Spontaneous ignition temperature


Mesoporous pore volume obtained via t-plot


Microporous pore volume obtained via t-plot


Total pore volume



We are grateful to Svenska Aerogel AB and Jacobi Carbons AB for providing the sorbents used in this study and to Ann-Carlotte Sköld at Camfil AB for performing the challenge measurements. We are also thankful to Christian Lindahl at Camfil AB for fruitful discussions about the toluene adsorption. Finally, thanks to Christian Mille at the Institute for Surface Chemistry, Stockholm for providing thermo gravimetric analyses and for productive discussions

Supplementary material

10934_2011_9479_MOESM1_ESM.tif (30 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 30 kb)
10934_2011_9479_MOESM2_ESM.tif (90 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (TIFF 89 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ebenezer Twumasi
    • 1
  • Mikael Forslund
    • 1
  • Peter Norberg
    • 1
  • Christer Sjöström
    • 1
  1. 1.Materials Technology, KTH Research School, University of GävleGävleSweden

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