Evidence for a pore-filling mechanism in the adsorption of aromatic hydrocarbons to a natural wood char

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Environ Sci Technol, Volume 41, Number 4, p.1212-7 (2007)


0013-936X (Print)

Accession Number:



Adsorption, Hydrocarbons, Aromatic/ chemistry, Methylene Chloride/chemistry, Pinus, Porosity, Solvents/chemistry, Surface Properties, Wood


Sorption isotherms for five aromatic hydrocarbons were obtained with a natural wood char (NC1) and its residue after solvent extraction (ENC1). Substantial isotherm nonlinearity was observed in all cases. ENC1 showed higher BET surface area, higher nitrogen-accessible micropore volume, and lower mass of extractable organic chemicals, including quantifiable polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),while the two chars showed identical surface oxygen/ carbon (O/C) ratio. For two chlorinated benzenes that normally condense as liquids at the temperatures used, sorption isotherms with NC1 and ENC1 were found to be statistically identical. For the solid-phase compounds (1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB) and two PAHs), sorption was statistically higher with ENC1, thus demonstrating sorption effects due to both (1) authigenic organic content in the sorbentand (2)the sorbate's condensed state. Polanyi-based isotherm modeling, pore size measurements, and comparisons with activated carbon showthe relative importance of adsorptive pore filling and help explain results. With both chars, maximum sorption increased in the order of decreasing molecular diameter: phenanthrene < naphthalene < 1,2-dichlorobenzene/1,2,4-trichlorobenzene < 1,4-DCB. Comparison of 1,4- and 1,2-DCB shows that the critical molecular diameter was apparently more important than the condensed state, suggesting that 1,4-DCB sorbed in the liquid state for ENC1.


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