Effect of activated carbons modification on porosity, surface structure and phenol adsorption

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Hazard Mater, Volume 151, Number 2-3, p.414-21 (2008)


0304-3894 (Print)

Accession Number:



Adsorption, Air Pollutants/ analysis/chemistry, Carbon Dioxide/chemistry, Carbon/ chemistry, Chemistry, Analytical/methods, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Models, Chemical, Nitric Acid/chemistry, Nitrogen/chemistry, Oxygen/chemistry, Phenol/analysis/ chemistry, Porosity, Surface Properties, Temperature, Urea/chemistry


The primary objective of this work was the examination of modified activated carbons with tailored adsorption capacity properties. Production of activated carbons with desired properties was accomplished by modification of surface functional groups and introduction of acidic/basic properties. Modification of an activated carbon was performed using partial oxygen gasification, nitric acid treatment, urea impregnation followed by pyrolysis and pyrolysis in a urea saturated stream. The surface properties of the produced samples were estimated by the multibasic titration method of Boehm and by the CO/CO2 gas evolution profiles, while pore structure development was measured by the N2 and CO2 gas adsorption isotherms. Oxygen gasification resulted in samples with surface area slightly lower that the raw activated carbon; the introduction of surface functional groups depended upon the severity of the treatment: carbonylic and phenolic type groups were introduced in all partially gasified samples, while low temperatures and short reaction times enhanced the basic character of the carbon. However, nitric acid treatment resulted in the introduction of high nitrogen amounts in the samples, the reduction of surface area and the development of a surface containing carboxylic, lactonic, phenolic and carbonylic groups with negligible HCl neutralization capacity. Treatment of activated carbon by urea supported the formation of basic groups and carbonyls. The presence of surface functional groups affected the adsorption capacity of the produced samples for the removal of specific pollutants such as phenols. Urea treated samples with a basic character and high nitrogen content presented the highest phenol uptake capacity; nitric acid treated carbons and oxygen gasified samples presented an acidic surface functionality and a low phenol adsorption capacity. The beneficial role of nitrogen on phenol adsorption was attributed to adsorbate-adsorbent interactions.


Using Smart Source ParsingMar 1; Epub 2007 Jun 7