1070-4272/01/7410-1765 $25.00 C 2001 MAIK [Nauka/Interperiodica]
Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, Vol. 74, No. 10, 2001, pp. 1765!1767. Translated from Zhurnal Prikladnoi Khimii, Vol. 74, No. 10, 2001,
Original Russian Text Copyright + 2001 by Kartel’, Gerasimenko, Tsyba, Nikolaichuk, Kovtun.
Synthesis and Study of Carbon Sorbent Prepared
from Polyethylene Terephthalate
N. T. Kartel’, N. V. Gerasimenko, N. N. Tsyba, A. D. Nikolaichuk, and G. A. Kovtun
Institute of Sorption and Endoecological Problems, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
Institute of Bioorganic and Petroleum Chemistry, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
Received February 22, 2001
Abstract-The optimal conditions for preparing activated carbons from polyethylene terephthalate polymer
wastes were determined. The pore structure and sorption properties of the resulting product were studied.
Nonutilizable synthetic macromolecular man-made
pollutants give rise to serious environmental prob-
lems. The removal, disposal, or incineration of these
products as ways to diminish their environmental
impact are often ineffective. Various procedures of
their partial utilization  predominantly involve
production of consumer’s goods or intermediates for
other cheap products. An alternative procedure al-
lowing preparation of novel products is treatment
of these wastes to obtain relatively cheap carbon sor-
bents whose working properties are comparable with
the properties of common activated carbons prepared
from wood, lignin, and coal dust.
In this work, we studied the possibility of prepar-
ing activated carbon from polyethylene terephthalate
(PETP) plastic containers; accumulation of these con-
tainers only in the Ukraine reaches several million
tons a year.
The treatment of this polymeric material is based
on the thermal carbonization3activation in the pres-
ence of dehydrating agents [4, 5] improving the yield
of the carbonized product and leading to the develop-
ment of a microporous and transport pore system in
the resulting material. Further steam activation pro-
vides additional development of the microporous struc-
ture (i.e., increases the volume of sorption pores and
the specific surface area) and thus significantly im-
proves the sorption properties.
In our study, we used the PETP crumb intended
for production of plastic containers and the polymer
crumb obtained in utilization of used containers.
As modifying agents we studied a 30% ZnCl
lution and also concentrated orthophosphoric and sul-
The preparation of a carbon sorbent by pyrolysis
of the polymer crumb involves several stages. First,
the samples were kept in solutions of the above mod-
ifying agents for 24 h. After impregnation, the crumb
was dried at 150oC for 2 h.
The carbonization and activation were performed
in a quartz reactor placed in a horizontal furnace. One
side of the reactor was sealed, so that the process
occurred almost without access of air, which in the
course of heating promotes autocatalytic burning-out
of the carbon-containing material. As a result, the
crumb was heated in our process in the atmosphere of
pyrolysis products. The heating rate was 20 deg min
the maximum activation temperature was 800oC. Then,
the carbon samples were additionally activated with
steam at the same temperature for 1 h.
To confirm the effect of chemical modification, we
performed simultaneously a pyrolysis of a sample
without impregnation with modifying agents.
In all the stages, the pore volume of the carbon
product was determined with respect to benzene W
and methanol W`
. The size distribution of the
macro- and mesopores was studied by the mercury
porosimetry on a Pore-Sizer 9300 device (Cultronix,
France). The sorption properties of the carbon sor-
bents were determined by sorption of Methylene Blue
(A) and iodine (A`) [6, 7].
The physicochemical properties of activated car-
bons prepared by activation of PETP polymer crumb