Modification Of Surface, Physical And Chemical Properties Of Activated Carbons For Water Purification

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ABSTRACT
The purpose of this work was to study the effect of chemical surface properties of activated carbons for their use in water purification. To achieve this objective, activated carbon in both granular and powdered forms namely: as received and devolatilized carbons were prepared. Proximate analysis of the carbon materials was performed. Mass titration experiments were carried out to determine the point of zero charge of the activated carbon materials. Again, using an ultraviolet spectrophotometer, the adsorption of phenol on as-received and devolatilized activated carbon was investigated. Adsorption isotherms were acquired from which the monolayer adsorption capacities were calculated.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page……………………………………………………….………….i
Approval page……………………………………………………………..ii
Dedication…………………………………………………………………iii
Acknowledgement…………………………………………………….…..iv
Abstract…………………………………………………………………....v
Table of contents…………………………………………………………..vi
List of Tables………………………………………………………………xi
List of Figures……………………………………………………………..xiii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION…………………………………….1
1.1 Origin and nature of activated ………………………………………….1
1.2 Methods of manufacture of activated carbon………………………...…2
1.3 Need for present investigation………………………………………..…3
1.4 Objectives and Scope of the study………………………………….…4
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW………………..…………6
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2.1 Preamble...…………………………………………………………….6
2.2 The adsorption process………………………………………………..6
2.3 Historical background of activated carbon……………….………………....7
2.4 Raw materials for the production of activated carbon………………………9
2.5 Activated carbon manufacturing process…………………………………...9
2.5.1 Thermal processing technique……………………………………….….10
2.5.2 Chemical activation technique …………………………………………13
2.5.3 Steam activation technique……………………...………………………13
2.6 Properties of activated carbon………………………………………...….14
2.6.1 Physical properties……………………………………………....………15
2.6.2 Chemical properties…………………………………….………….……15
2.7 Structure of activated carbon………………………………….…………..17
2.8 Applications of activated carbons……………………….…………..……19
CHAPTER THREE: EXPERIMENTAL……………………..............…...22
3.1 Selection of materials…………………….………………………………22
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3.1.1 Selection of activated carbon material……..…………………………..22
3.1.2 Selection of adsorbate…………………….……………………………22
3.2 Apparatus used………………………..…………………………………22
3.3 Reagents used……………………………………………………………23
3.4 Modification of the activated carbon………………….…………………..24
3.4.1 Devolatilization of the coconut shell based activated carbon………..…24
3.4.2 Treatment of the activated carbon with nitric acid…………………..…24
3.5 Mass titration……………………………………………………….……..25
3.6 Proximate analysis of the activated carbon material…..………………….26
3.6.1 Moisture content…………………………………………………….….26
3. 6.2 Volatile matter content……………………..……………………….…26
3.6.3 Ash content………………………………………………………..…...26
3.6.4 Fixed carbon……………………………………………………...…….27
3.7 Adsorption experiment………………………………………………..….27
CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION………………….…28
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4.1 Mass titration………………….….…………………………………..….28
4.2 Proximate analysis……………………………………………………....36
4.3 Adsorption isotherms………………………….……………………..….37
4.4 Surface coverage.…………………………………………………….....45
4.5 Discussion of results…………………………………………………....46
4.5.1 Mass titration…………………………………………………………46
4.5.2 Proximate analysis……………..…………………………….………….46
4.5.3 Adsorption isotherms and surface coverage.............................................47
CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS……..49
5.1 Conclusion…………………….…………………………………………..49
5.2 Recommendations…………………..……………………………..……...50
References……………………………………………………….………..51
Appendix A………………………………………………………..………53
Appendix B…………………………………………..………………..….55
Appendix C…………………………………………….……………….…60
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 2.1 Fixed carbon contents of precursors for the production of activated carbons........................................………………………………………………10
Table 4.1: Mass titration result for as-received activated carbon ……………..28
Table 4.2: Mass titration result for devolatilized activated carbons……………..…..29
Table 4.3: Mass titration result for activated carbon treated with concentrated nitric acid………………………………………………………………………………........30
Table 4.4: Mass titration result for activated carbon treated with dilute nitric acid….31
Table 4.5: Proximate analysis of granular and powdered activated carbons…..36
Table 4.6: Calibration of phenol………………………………………..……...37
Table 4.7 Data for the adsorption of phenol solution on as-received activated carbon……………….………………….……………………………………...38
Table 4.8 Data for the adsorption of phenol solution on the devolatilized activated carbon………………………………………………………………………………………39
Table 4.9: Data for the adsorption of phenol solution on the activated carbon treated with concentrated nitric acid…………………..…………………..….40
Table 4.10: Data for the adsorption of phenol solution on the activated carbon treated with dilute nitric acid……..…………………..…………………..….41
Table 4.8: Monolayer capacities and surface coverage for three grades of coconut shell based activated carbon…………………………………………45
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 2.1 Thermal processing routes for production for activation of activated carbon…………………………………………………………………………..12
Figure 4.1 Mass titration plot for as-received activated carbons………..….….32
Figure 4.2: Mass titration plot for devolatilized activated carbons …………...33
Figure 4.3: Mass titration plot for activated carbon treated with concentrated nitric acid………………………………………………………………………34
Figure 4.4: Mass titration plot for activated carbon treated with dilute nitric acid……………………………………………………………………………..35
Figure 4.5 Calibration of phenol…………………………….…………………41
Figure 4.6: Adsorption isotherms of phenol on as-received activated carbon..42
Figure 4.7 Adsorption isotherms of phenol on devolatilized activated carbon..43
Figure 4.8: Adsorption isotherms of phenol on activated carbon treated with dilute nitric acid………………………………..…………………….….…….44
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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 ORIGIN AND NATURE OF ACTIVATED CARBON
Carbon is the fifteenth most abundant element in the earth’s crust and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium and oxygen. Scientists, industries, and consumers use different forms of carbon and carbon containing compounds in many ways such as activated carbon or carbon in its active form which can be used to purify water, among others.
Activated carbon is a form of carbon that has been produced to make it extremely porous and thus have a very large surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions.
It can be defined as a microcrystalline non-graphitic amorphous form of carbon which has been processed to develop a high internal porosity due to its network of inter-connecting pores.
The history of activated carbon is dated since the fifteenth century, during the time of Columbus when sailors used to blacken the inside of wooden water barrels with fire, since they observed that the water would stay fresh much longer. It is likely that people at that time proceeded by intuition only without having any
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insight into the mechanism of the effect. The mechanism was recognized beginning from the eighteenth century.
In 1862, Lipscombe prepared a carbon material for purifying portable water. This development paved the way for the commercial application of activated carbon first for portable water and then in waste water sector.
1.2 METHODS OF MANUFACTURE OF ACTIVATED CARBON
The methods employed in the industrial manufacture of activated carbons are numerous but consist of three main methods namely; Chemical activation, Steam activation and thermal processing techniques.
The raw materials or precursors used in the manufacture of activated carbon are as follows; Softwood, coconut shell, lignite, hardwood, grain and agro products, bituminous coal, anthracite, etc.
Chemical activation is generally used for the production of activated carbon from sawdust, wood or peat and uses chemicals for activation. Chemical activation technique involves mixing an inorganic chemical compound with the carbonaceous raw materials and the most widely used activating agents are Phosphoric acid and Zinc Chloride.
Steam activation technique is generally used for coal-based, coconut shell and grain-based activated carbons and uses gases, vapors or a mixture of both for its activation.
Thermal processing technique is a separation process that removes unwanted materials from the carbonaceous precursor used under varying heat applications. This technique is at a lower cost compared to the two techniques above and meets all environmental standards, while others need expensive solutions to achieve the same results.

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