Liquid-phase adsorption of multi-ring thiophenic sulfur compounds on carbon materials with different surface properties

Anning Zhou, Xiaoliang Ma, Chunshan Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


This work examines the effects of structural and surface properties of carbon materials on the adsorption of benzothiophene (BT), dibenzothiophene (DBT), 4-methyldibenzothiophene (4-MDBT) and 4,6-dimethyl-dibenzothiophene (4,6-DMDBT) in the presence of 10 wt % of aromatics in liquid alkanes that simulate sulfur compounds in diesel fuels. The equilibrium-adsorption capacity varies significantly, from 1.7 to 7.0 mg-S/g-A. The results show that different carbon materials have significantly different sulfur-adsorption capacities and selectivities that depend not only on textural structure but also on surface functional groups. The adsorption of multi-ring sulfur compounds on carbon materials was found to obey the Langmuir isotherm. On the basis of adsorption tests and the characterization of carbon materials by BET and XPS, the oxygencontaining functional groups on the surface appear to play an important role in increasing sulfur-adsorption capacity. The adsorption-selectivity trend of the carbon materials for various compounds increases in the order of BT < naphthalene < 2-methylnaphthalene < DBT < 4-MDBT < 4,6-DMDBT, regardless of carbon material types. This selectivity trend for sulfur compounds is dramatically different and almost opposite from that previously observed for adsorption over nickel-based adsorbents. The regeneration of spent activated carbons was also conducted by solvent washing. The high-adsorption capacity and selectivity for methyl DBTs indicate that certain activated carbons are promising adsorbents for selective adsorption for removing sulfur (SARS) as a new approach to ultra deep desulfurization of diesel fuels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4699-4707
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 16 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Liquid-phase adsorption of multi-ring thiophenic sulfur compounds on carbon materials with different surface properties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this