The SO2 adsorption behaviors of activated carbons produced from Illinois coal and of commercially prepared activated carbon fibers (ACFs) were compared. There was no relation between surface area of coal-based carbons and SO2 adsorption, whereas adsorption of SO2 on the series of ACFs was inversely proportional to N2 BET surface area. Higher surface area ACFs had wider pores and adsorbed less SO2; thus, pore size distribution is thought to play a significant role in SO2 adsorption for these materials. Oxidation with HNO3 and/or H2SO4, followed by heat treatment at 700-925 ??C to remove carbon-oxygen complexes, resulted in increased SO2 adsorption for both coal chars and ACFs. This behavior was explained by an increase in the available number of free sites, previously occupied by oxygen and now available for SO2 adsorption. The use of nitrogen-containing functional groups on ACFs of proper pore size shows promise for further increasing SO2 adsorption capacities. Knowledge of the relationship among the number of free sites, pore size, and surface chemistry on corresponding SO2 adsorption should lead to the development of more efficient adsorbents prepared from either coal or ACFs.
Additional publication details
Adsorption of SO2 on bituminous coal char and activated carbon fiber