PMID: 12564916Feb 5, 2003Paper

Sorption hysteresis of benzene in charcoal particles

Environmental Science & Technology
Washington J BraidaBaoshan Xing


Charcoal is found in water, soil, and sediment where it may act as a sorbent of organic pollutants. The sorption of organic compounds to natural solids often shows hysteresis. The purpose of this study was to determine the source of pronounced hysteresis that we found in the sorption of a hydrophobic compound (benzene) in water to a maple-wood charcoal prepared by oxygen-limited pyrolysis at 673 K. Gas adsorption (N2, Ar, CO2), 13C NMR, and FTIR show the charcoal to be a microporous solid composed primarily of elemental (aromatic) C and secondarily of carboxyl and phenolic C. Nonlocal density functional theory (N2, Ar) and Monte Carlo (CO2) calculations reveal a porosity of 0.15 cm3/g, specific surface area of 400 m2/g, and appreciable porosity in ultramicropores < 10 A. Benzene sorption-desorption conditions were chosen to eliminate artificial causes of hysteresis (rate-limiting diffusion, degradation, colloids effect). Charcoal sorbed up to its own weight of benzene at approximately 69% of benzene water solubility. Sorption was highly irreversible over most of the range tested (10(-4)-10(3) microg/mL). A dimensionless irreversibility index (/i) (0 < or = /i < or = 1) based on local slopes of adsorption and desorption branches...Continue Reading


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