Calgon Carbon Corporation

Assessment of Activated Carbon Stability toward Adsorbed Organics


Activated carbon technology is widely employed in solvent recovery and air pollution abatement systems. Activated carbon beds containing organic molecules sometimes come into contact with air or oxygen, in some cases, as a consequence of their normal operations. A number of investigators (Miller et al., 1987; Chapman and Field, 1979) have reported exothermic runaway reactions under these conditions. In almost all cases, oxidizable organic solvents such as ketones, aldehydes, and the like were present, to some extent, during the thermal runaway processes (Naujokas, 1979, 1985). Concern for carbon bed combustion has led to numerous studies reported in the literature. These investigators (Miller et al., 1987; Chapman and Field, 1979; Naujokas, 1979, 1985;Takeuchi et al., 1990; Mathewes, 1986; Wildman, 1988; Cameron and MacDowall, 1972; Bowes and Cameron, 1971; Johnson and Woods, 1971; Boiston, 1968; Hardman and Street, 1980; Hardman et al., 1980) have studied the problems associated with carbon bed exotherm, employing various conditions conducive to simulation of this process. However, the test procedures employed in most of the cited studies generally require elaborate equipment and/or long durations.

This study reports the development of a comparatively simple and rapid test procedure for assessment of the relative oxidative activity characteristics of activated carbons containing organic solvents. It also compares observed results to those of literature reports on column studies (Naujokas, 1979, 1985).

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