Preparation of functionalized and metal-impregnated activated carbon by a single-step activation method

Seyed A. Dastgheib, Jianli Ren, Massoud Rostam-Abadi, Ramsay Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A rapid method to prepare functionalized and metal-impregnated activated carbon from coal is described in this paper. A mixture of ferric chloride and a sub-bituminous coal was used to demonstrate simultaneous coal activation, chlorine functionalization, and iron/iron oxides impregnation in the resulting porous carbon products. The FeCl 3 concentration in the mixture, the method to prepare the FeCl 3 -coal mixture (solid mixing or liquid impregnation), and activation atmosphere and temperature impacted the surface area and porosity development, Cl functionalization, and iron species impregnation and dispersion in the carbon products. Samples activated in nitrogen or a simulated flue gas at 600 or 1000 C for 1-2 min had surface areas up to ∼800 m 2 /g, bulk iron contents up to 18 wt%, and surface chlorine contents up to 27 wt%. Potential catalytic and adsorption application of the carbon materials was explored in catalytic wet air oxidation (CWAO) of phenol and adsorption of ionic mercury from aqueous solutions. Results indicated that impregnated activated carbons outperformed their non-impregnated counterparts in both the CWAO and adsorption tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - Jan 30 2014


  • Activated carbon
  • Coal
  • Impregnation
  • Microporous materials
  • Single-step method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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