Porous properties of activated carbons from waste newspaper prepared by chemical and physical activation

Kiyoshi Okada, Nobuo Yamamoto, Yoshikazu Kameshima, Atsuo Yasumori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Activated carbons were prepared from old newspaper and paper prepared from simulated paper sludge by chemical activation using various alkali carbonates and hydroxides as activating reagents and also by physical activation using steam. In the chemical activation, the influence of oxidation, carbonization, and activation on the porous properties of the resulting activated carbons was investigated. The specific surface areas (SBET) of the activated carbons prepared by single-step activation (direct activation without oxidation and carbonization) were higher than those resulting from two-step activation (oxidation-activation and carbonization-activation) and three-step activation (oxidation-carbonization-activation) methods. The SBET values were strongly dependent on the activating reagents and the activating conditions, being > 1000 m2/g using K2CO3, Rb2CO3, Cs2CO3, and KOH as activating reagents but <1000 m2/g using Li2CO3, Na2CO3, and NaOH. These differences in SBET values are suggested to be related to the ionic radii of the alkalis used as activating reagents. The microstructures of the higher SBET samples show a complete loss of fiber shape but those of the lower SBET samples maintain the shape. In the physical activation, the porous properties of the activated carbons prepared by the single-step method were examined as a function of the production conditions such as activation temperature, activation time, steam concentration, and flow rate of the carrier gas. The maximum SBET and total pore volume (VP) were 1086 m2/g and 1.01 ml/g, obtained by activation at 850°C for 2 h, flowing 20 mol% of steam in nitrogen gas at 0.5 l/min. A correlation was found between SBET and the yield of the product, the maximum SBET value corresponding to a product yield of about 10%. This result is suggested to result from competition between pore formation and surface erosion. Compared with chemically activated carbons using K2CO3, the porous properties of the physically activated carbons have lower SBET and VP values because of the smaller size and lower volume of their micropores. On the other hand, they retain the original fiber shape and the paper sheet morphology after activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-193
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Activated carbon
  • Chemical activation
  • Physical activation
  • Porous properties
  • Waste newspaper

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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