Modeling effective diffusivity of volatile organic compounds in activated carbon fiber

M. Lordgooei, Mark J Rood, M. Rostam-Abadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) comprise 67% of total hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that are emitted by major industrial point sources into the U.S. atmosphere (1). Adsorption by activated carbon fiber (ACF) has been recognized as one of the feasible regenerative control processes to separate and recover VOCs for reuse. Characteristics of VOCs transport in ACFs are required to efficiently design ACF sorption systems. However, extensive resources are spent experimentally obtaining transient sorption data to design adsorption systems. As an alternative, this work develops a new model that predicts effective diffusivities of VOCs into ACFs. The diffusion process is modeled as Knudsen transport into the ACF open pore spaces coupled with activated surface diffusion on the ACF's internal surface area. Temperature and Darken's factors are included in the surface diffusion model to provide corrections for thermodynamic state and deviation from Fick's Law, respectively. Depth of the adsorption potential well is considered as the product of the heat of adsorption of a reference VOC, an adsorption similarity factor, and a surface diffusion energy factor. Introduction of the adsorption similarity factor in the effective diffusivity model is a new concept providing a means to predict effective diffusivity of similar adsorption systems from a reference system. Experimental data from a short length column are used to determine effective diffusivity of acetone in ACF. Results from this diffusivity model are compared to experimental values for the acetone/ACF system to describe the degree of closure between modeled and experimental results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling effective diffusivity of volatile organic compounds in activated carbon fiber'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this