Surface modification of activated carbon by corona treatment

Surface modification may lead activated carbon (AC) to take on different properties. This study aimed to promote surface modification of activated carbons using corona treatment (electrical discharge). In this study, powdered commercial activated carbon was used. Activated carbons were subjected to corona treatment at different exposure times (2, 5, 8 and 10 min) at 4.5 cm height from the source. To observe differences promoted by treatment, activated carbons were analyzed by acidity, surface functional groups, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), elemental analysis (CHN), proximate analysis and thermogravimetry. Corona treatment impacted surface chemistry of activated carbons. There was a trend of increasing surface acidity according to exposure time. There were changes in functional groups, increasing carboxyl acid and decreasing lactone and phenol groups. FTIR analysis showed peaks in the bands at 3500, 1650 and 1300 cm-1. Increase of oxygen content and decrease of carbon content were also found. Immediate analysis followed similar tendency for volatile and fixed carbon content. There were also differences in thermogravimetry analysis. Treated activated carbons were different compared to virgin activated carbon. This difference was performed by surface oxidation. Thus, this study showed that corona treatment caused surface modifications and might impact adsorption process.