A comparison of figure of merit (FOM) for various materials in adsorptive removal of benzene under ambient temperature and pressure

Azmatullah Khan, Jan E. Szulejko, Ki Hyun Kim, Pallabi Sammadar, Sang Soo Lee, Xiao Yang, Yong Sik Ok

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67 Citations (Scopus)


To effectively remove gaseous pollutants from air using sorbents, a thorough knowledge of the actual sorption performance is needed at ambient conditions rather than at unrealistically high-pressure conditions, as is commonly presented in the literature. To this end, the sorbent capacities of gaseous benzene were evaluated at a constant sorbent bed inlet pressure (50 ppm or ~5 Pa) in 1 atm of N2, room temperature (298 K), a fixed flow rate (50 mL min−1), and equal outlet sampling intervals (5 min). The benzene adsorption patterns were investigated against six sorbent types in a total of 17 different forms: 1- zeolite in five forms: beads (ZB), ground to 212 µm (ZG212), beads ground to 300 µm (ZG300), coarsely ground/washed zeolite (ZWc), and coarsely ground/washed/thermally treated zeolite (ZTc), 2- activated carbon in two forms: 212 µm (ACd212) and granular (ACdg), 3- Carbopack-X (CX), 4- Tenax TA (TA), 5- used black tea leaves of 150 or 300 µm in three forms: dry (TD150/TD300), wet (TW150/TW300), and wet dust (TWd), and 6- used ground coffee in either dry (CD) or wet forms (CW). Accordingly, the largest adsorption capacities at 5 Pa (e.g., >10 mg g−1) were observed for ACd212 (79.1) and ACdg (73.6). Moderate values (e.g., 5 < < 10 mg g−1) were obtained for ZG212 (7.98), CX (6.79), ZG300 (5.70), and ZB (5.58), while the remainder were far lower at < 5 mg g−1 (e.g., tea leaves, ground coffee, TA, ZWc, and ZTc). The experimental benzene capacities of the tested sorbents were further assessed by the Langmuir, Henry's law, Freundlich, Dubinin-Radushkevich, and Elovich isotherm models. The linearized Langmuir adsorption isotherms of ACd212, ACdg, and CX showed the presence of more than one adsorption site (i.e., retrograde at the lowest pressures and two others at higher pressures). However, TA, zeolite, tea leaves, and ground coffee exhibited a type-V isotherm, wherein the sorption capacity continued to increase with loaded volume (i.e., multilayer adsorption). Thus, ACd212 has the best figure-of-merit based on a high 10% breakthrough volume (BTV) and low cost for real-world applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-108
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Activated carbon
  • Benzene
  • Retrograde isotherms
  • Sorption
  • Tea and coffee leaves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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