American Chemical Society
es2c07086_si_001.pdf (1.64 MB)

Revealing the Pore Size-Dependent Sorption Mechanism of Toluene and Cetane in Porous Carbon by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-18, 02:29 authored by Zhiang Hou, Xiaoqiang An, Kai Zhu, Qingwen Tang, Huachun Lan, Huijuan Liu, Jiuhui Qu
The adsorption of contaminants by porous carbon has been extensively studied by conventional isotherm and kinetic methods. However, the co-adsorption behavior and sorption sites of multiple contaminants in different-sized pores remain unclear. Herein, the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) approach is performed to investigate the adsorption mechanism of toluene and cetane in the confined space of carbon at the molecular level. The ring current effect induces the variation in the NMR chemical shifts of in-pore adsorbed toluene and cetane, realizing the identification of pore-dependent adsorption sites for contaminant removal. Cetane has a slower adsorption kinetic but a higher binding energy than toluene, which could squeeze toluene from micropores to larger pores with increasing adsorption quantity. This leads to a stronger competitive adsorption effect in small micropores than in mesopores. Accordingly, hierarchical porous carbons are determined to be the most effective adsorbents for the adsorption of coexisting contaminants. This study not only provides an effective NMR method to reveal the adsorption mechanism in the confined space of porous carbon at the molecular level but also offers new insights into the pore size-dependent adsorption of activated carbon for petroleum contaminant treatment.