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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

Front. Chem. Sci. Eng.    2017, Vol. 11 Issue (3) : 328-337     DOI: 10.1007/s11705-017-1646-y
The preparation and performance of lignin-based activated carbon fiber adsorbents for treating gaseous streams
Min Song1(), Wei Zhang2, Yongsheng Chen3, Jinming Luo3, John C. Crittenden3
1. Key Laboratory of Energy Thermal Conversion and Control (Ministry of Education), School of Energy and Environment, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China
2. State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Risk Assessment and Control on Chemical Process, School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China
3. Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable System, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0595, USA
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Two types of lignin-based carbon fibers were prepared by electrospinning method. The first was activated with Fe3O4 (LCF-Fe), and the second was not activated with Fe3O4 (LCF). Gas phase adsorption isotherms for toluene on LCF-Fe and LCF were studied. The gas phase adsorption isotherm for 0% RH showed LCF-Fe have about 439 mg/g adsorption capacity which was close to that of commercially available activated carbon (500 mg/g). The Dubinin-Radushkevich equation described the isotherm data very well. Competitive adsorption isotherms between water vapor and toluene were measured for their RH from 0 to 80%. The effect of humidity on toluene gas-phase adsorption was predicted by using the Okazaki et al. model. In addition, a constant pattern homogeneous surface diffusion model (CPHSDM) was used to predict the toluene breakthrough curve of continuous flow-packed columns containing LCF-Fe, and its capacity was 412 mg/g. Our study, which included material characterization, adsorption isotherms, kinetics, the impact of humidity and fixed bed performance modeling, demonstrated the suitability of lignin-based carbon fiber for volatile organic compound removal from gas streams.

Keywords lignin      carbon fiber      electrospinning      toluene      humidity     
Corresponding Authors: Min Song   
Just Accepted Date: 07 April 2017   Online First Date: 23 May 2017    Issue Date: 23 August 2017
 Cite this article:   
Min Song,Wei Zhang,Yongsheng Chen, et al. The preparation and performance of lignin-based activated carbon fiber adsorbents for treating gaseous streams[J]. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng., 2017, 11(3): 328-337.
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Min Song
Wei Zhang
Yongsheng Chen
Jinming Luo
John C. Crittenden
Sample A ad/% M ad/% C ad/% H ad/% N ad/% S ad/% O ad/%
Alkali lignin 18.29 10.56 46.80 4.107 0.02 3.887 16.34
Tab.1  The proximate and ultimate analysis of lignina)
Fig.1  The SEM images of lignin carbon fiber in the absence (left) and presence of Fe3O4 (right)
Fig.2  The FTIR spectrum curves of LF, LF-Fe, LCF, and LCF-Fe
Characteristics Adsorbents
Pore structure SBET /(m2?g1) 117 1466
Average pore diameter /nm 6.99 2.43
Total volume /(cm 3?g1) 0.20 0.89
Micropore volume /(cm 3?g1) 0.02 0.52
Surface chemistry Elementary analysis C/H/N/O (wt-%) 62.31/4.14/0.56/6.87 67.08/1.54/3.65/2.48
pH PZC 6.87 6.03
Tab.2  Physicochemical characteristics of LCF and LCF-Fe
Fig.3  The surface area versus pore volume computed from the N2 isotherm of LCF-Fe
Fig.4  Pore size distributions of LCF-Fe and LCF. Micropores and mesopores were obtained from Barrett-Joyner-Halenda and HK analysis of the nitrogen desorption branch, respectively
Fig.5  (a) Adsorption isotherm for single toluene on LCF-Fe at 298 K and (b) experimental data for the adsorption of toluene on LCF-Fe
Fig.6  Experimental data for adsorption of toluene in the presence of water vapor compared to thermodynamic model predictions
Fig.7  CPHSDM predictions for toluene breakthrough curves of LCF-Fe and Calgon BPL
Adsorbents Time a) /h Bed volume a) Toluene removed /kg Adsorption capacity /(mg?g 1)
LCL-Fe 946 522023 1566 412
Calgon BPL 74.6 41147 867 228
Tab.3  The adsorptive capacities of LCF-Fe and commercial GACs during the column tests
1/ n Freundlich constant, ?
β affinity coefficient of the adsorbate, ?
p pressure, kPa
po saturated vapor pressure, kPa
q amount adsorbed, mg/g-carbon
R gas constant, cc·mmHg/mol·K
r pore radius, cm, Å
S surface area, m 2/g-carbon
SC surface area of wet surface, m 2/g-carbon
SD surface area of dry surface, m 2/g-carbon
ST total surface area, m 2/g-carbon
T temperature, K
V volume, mL
VC volume of condensed phase, mL/g-carbon
ρ density, g/mL
o solvent
w water
1 adsorption on dry surface
2 dissolution into condensed phase
3 liquid-phase adsorption onto wet suface
εp particle porosity
ε bed porosity
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