The influence of surface chemistry and solution pH on the adsorption of benzene and toluene on activated carbon and its acid and heat treated forms were studied. A commercial coal-based activated carbon F-400 was chosen as carbon parent. The carbon samples were obtained by modification of F-400 by means of chemical treatment with HNO3and thermal treatment under nitrogen flow. The treatment with nitric acid caused the introduction of a significant number of oxygenated acidic surface groups onto the carbon surface, while the heat treatment increases the basicity of carbon. The pore characteristics were not significantly changed after these modifications. The dispersive interactions are the most important factor in this adsorption process. Activated carbon with low oxygenated acidic surface groups (F-400Tox) has the best adsorption capacity. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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