Table of Contents
ISRN Chemical Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 352574, 10 pages
Research Article

Pore Size Distribution Analysis of Coal-Based Activated Carbons: Investigating the Effects of Activating Agent and Chemical Ratio

1Department of Chemical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, No. 424 Hafez Avenue, P.O. Box 15875-4413, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, P.O. Box 91775-1111, Mashhad, Iran

Received 25 October 2012; Accepted 21 November 2012

Academic Editors: A. A. Kulikovsky and F. Secundo

Copyright © 2012 Ahmad Okhovat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study attempts to investigate the effects of different chemical agents and chemical ratios on pore structure of coal-based activated carbons. The adsorption isotherm data of two series of activated carbons prepared from bituminous coal by chemical activation with potassium hydroxide and zinc chloride were used. Four well-known models of Dubinin-Stoeckli, Stoeckli, Horvath-Kawazoe, and improved Horvath-Kawazoe were applied for the characterization of these porous solids. Although the results showed some differences among the models that arise from their fundamental assumptions, in general they are found to be comparable. Results showed that samples activated by ZnCl2 provide higher-adsorption capacity than those from KOH. In each series, it was shown that the pore volume increases with increasing impregnation ratio, ranging from 50% to 200%. Activated carbons obtained at low chemical ratio in ZnCl2 series (up to 100%) showed microporous structure, while those with higher ratios became predominantly mesoporous. In the KOH series, increasing KOH created more micropores in the carbon structure in the whole range of studied chemical ratio.