As an inexpensive method for modification of activated carbons (ACs), sulfurization has attracted significant attention. However, the resulting sulfurized activated carbons (SACs) often are less porous than the original ACs. In this work, we propose a new method for concurrent sulfurization/activation that can lead to preparation of SACs with more porosity than the corresponding non-sulfurized ACs. By using scanning electron microscopy, nitrogen adsorption/desorption, and iodine number experiments, the porous structure of the SACs has been compared with that of non-sulfurized ACs. The specific surface areas of SACs are higher than the corresponding ACs, regardless of the type of activation agents used. For instance, the specific surface area of SAC and AC activated with phosphoric acid is 1,637 and 1,338 m2/g, respectively. Additionally, sulfur contents and surface charges (pHpzc) of the SACs and non-sulfurized ACs are compared. In fact, the SACs have higher sulfur contents and more acidic surfaces. Furthermore, the Hg(II) adsorption capacity of SACs has been compared with the corresponding non-sulfurized ACs. The Hg(II) adsorption isotherms on a selected SAC is measured at different pH values and temperatures. Hg(II) adsorptions as high as 293 mg/g are observed by using SACs prepared by the method proposed in this study.

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