Chemical modification of activated carbon adsorbents
Activated carbons have been modif fed using reactive chemicals to produce adsorbents of enhanced hydrophobic character which will also be resistant to surface oxidation that results from exposure to humid air ("ageing"). The intention was that modification would not disrupt the carbon pore structure. The adsorptive properties of the modified carbons have been investigated using probe molecules Including nitrogen, water, hexane, and chloropicrin, and the ageing characteristics of the carbons, and the factors controlling the adsorption of a model hydrophobic vapour from high humidity air have been studied. Directly fluorinated carbons were unstable, probably due to weakly adsorbed fluorine. Treatment of these adsorbents with other chemicals indicated the potential of the technique for Introducing specific functional groups onto the carbon surface. Carbons modified using selective fluorinating reagents (hexafluoropropene and 1,1-difluoroethene) were more hydrophobic, and adsorbed hydrophobic vapours more efficiently from humid air in comparison to controls. These adsorbents aged, but at a reduced rate in comparison to control carbon. Carbons modified using chlorinating reagents (carbonyl chloride and chlorine) and treated with solvents to remove adsorbed reagent and/or reaction products were of improved hydrophobic character, and adsorbed hydrophobic vapours from humid air at least as efficiently as the control samples. More importantly, these carbons offered resistance to ageing effects. A study of the factors controlling the efficiency with which hydrophobic vapours; are adsorbed from humid air revealed that the surface chemistry of the carbon is important, but that under typical conditions of use, filter performance was limited by the rate at which water displaced by the organic vapour could be carried away by the airstream. The results illustrate that filters containing chemically modified activated carbon offer advantages when volatile hydrophobic contaminant vapours are present, and where ageing effects are an important mechanism by which filtration efficiency is degraded.