Adsorption of odorous sulfur compounds onto activated carbons modified by gamma irradiation

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A commercial activated carbon (AC) was modified by gamma irradiation and was tested as adsorbent for the removal of ethyl mercaptan, dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl disulfide in wet conditions. Modifications were carried out under five different conditions: irradiation in absence of water, in presence of ultrapure water, in ultrapure water at pH = 1.0 and 1000 mg L-1 Cl-, in ultrapure water at pH = 7.5 and 1000 mg L-1 Br-, and in ultrapure water at pH = 12.5 and 1000 mg L-1 NO3-. The chemical properties of each AC were characterized by elemental analysis, temperature programmed desorption and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Outcomes show that a large number of oxygen functional groups were incorporated in the AC surface by gamma irradiation, especially in the AC irradiated in the presence of ultrapure water. The dynamic adsorption test results reveal that the incorporation of oxygen functional groups did not enhance the adsorption capacities for dimethyl sulfide and dimethyl disulfide. A significant improvement in the ethyl mercaptan adsorption capacity was correlated with the incorporation of phenolic groups in the AC surface. Moreover, diethyl disulfide was detected as by-product of ethyl mercaptan oxidation process under wet conditions and its formation depended on the chemical properties of ACs ​
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