activated carbon for solvent recovery
DEC.ACA™

Great flexibility, several different types and grades available and a variety of industrial applications: activated carbon is the most widely used filtration media for treatments of fluids, in both liquid and gaseosus phase. Thanks to its non-polar surface characteristic, activated carbon shows high affinity with most organics (VOCs), while showing low affinity with water, in contrast with the polar desiccating adsorbents (such as molecular sieves).

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Activated carbon is a carbon structure which has been given a particular porosity, with a resulting inner surface accessible to molecules of varying nature and size.

The secret behind activated carbon's effectiveness lies in its internal structure. It's a form of carbon processed to have an incredibly high surface area: this is achieved by creating a network of tiny pores throughout the carbon particles. Imagine a "microscopic sponge" – that's essentially what activated carbon is like.

Due to this extensive network of pores, activated carbon has a massive surface area for its size. This characteristic makes it highly effective in capturing and trapping various unwanted substances from liquids and gases.

This porosity is developed by the activation process, which creates a remarkable power of adsorption, an indispensable process in industrial separation, purification, decolorisation and VOC recovery techniques.

Activated carbon is the ideal adsorption media for industrial filtration (AFU) and vapor phase solvent recovery units (SRU).

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    activated carbon for solvent recovery (DEC.ACA™) • classification

    Active carbons can be divided into the following types according to their use:

  • activated carbons for adsorption of gases and vapors;
  • activated carbons for adsorption from the liquid phase;
  • activated carbons as the core of catalysts and chemical adsorbers.
  • activated carbon for solvent recovery (DEC.ACA™) • adsorption

    Effective solvent recovery depends on the use of high-quality activated carbon with a properly distributed pore size.

    The process by which activated carbon captures impurities is called adsorption. It's distinct from absorption, where a substance is dissolved throughout another material.

    Adsorption is a physical (reversible) process where organic molecules are held at the carbon surface, by an attraction (Van Der Waals forces) resulting from intermolecular attraction (relatively weak, if compared to normal chemical bonds).

    During adsorption, contaminant molecules in the SLA (Solvent Laden Air) encounter and adhere to the surface of a solid adsorbent, particularly within its micropores. This physical process, occurring at specific active sites leads to surface condensation of the contaminants (releasing heat). As the active sites become occupied, the adsorbent's capacity diminishes, culminating in adsorption breakthrough and necessitating desorption for regeneration.

    The factors influencing the amount of gas adsorbed by activated carbon include:

  • adsorption temperature: generally, lower temperatures favor increased adsorption;
  • relative humidity: generally, lower RH values favor increased adsorption;
  • pressure: higher pressure leads to more gas molecules being adsorbed;
  • chemical species being adsorbed: the specific gas molecule and its interaction with the carbon surface play a role (non-polar VOCs are generally favored);
  • activated carbon characteristics: larger surface area, allowing for greater adsorption capacity, including the size and distribution of pores within the carbon which influence the types of gas molecules that can be adsorbed.
  • activated carbon for solvent recovery (DEC.ACA™) • desorption

    Desorption is the reversal of the adsorption process. In the (in situ) regeneration process, the adsorbed solvent is stripped from the activated carbon, using two processes, alone or combined:

  • TSA (thermal swing adsorption);
  • PSA (pressure swing adsorption);
  • VSA (vacuum swing adsorption);
  • T+VSA (temperature + vacuum swing adsorption).
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