Performance of mesoporous silicas and carbon in adsorptive removal of phenanthrene as a typical gaseous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

Ziyi Li, Yingshu Liu, Xiong Yang*, Yi Xing, Chuen-Tinn Tsai, Miaomiao Meng, Ralph T. Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Adsorptive removal of the predominant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), represented by phenanthrene, from hot gases using mesoporous adsorbents (mesosilicas MCM-41 and SBA-15, and mesocarbon CMK-3) has been studied through tests of column adsorption and temperature programmed desorption (TPD). Adsorption equilibria on MCM-41 and CMK-3, and on SBA-15 were well described by Langmuir and Freundlich models, respectively, showing the order of adsorption capacity of CMK-3 > SBA-15 > MCM-41 originated from different geometrical structures and texture properties. Adsorption dynamics based on breakthrough fitting by the constant-pattern wave propagation model showed that mesoporosity contributed to fast overall adsorption kinetics by reducing the internal resistance as being the predominant mass-transfer step, particularly on SBA-15 with a 2-D cross-linked structure. The TPD tests revealed the order of ease of desorption of SBA-15 ≈ MCM-41 > CMK-3, where the structural advantage on SBA-15 dominated the strong site binding as indicated by the intrinsic activation energy and exponential factor obtained by TPD models. Results from different TPD models showed that re-adsorption effect during desorption increased with decreasing dimension of adsorbent structure and that the utilization of the simplified linear TPD model could be violated by the strong sorbate-sorbent binding. Comparisons with traditional adsorbents and with the removal of naphthalene by these mesoporous adsorbents were made, showing higher applicability of CMK-3 for phenanthrene regarding stronger adsorption affinity and capacity as well as decreased disadvantages in regenerability relative to mesosilicas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Adsorption mechanism
  • Adsorptive removal
  • Mesoporous materials
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Regenerability


Dive into the research topics of 'Performance of mesoporous silicas and carbon in adsorptive removal of phenanthrene as a typical gaseous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this