Kinetics of hydrocarbon adsorption on activated carbon and silica gel



Experimental breakthrough results of methane, ethane and propane in activated carbon and silica gel obtained over a wide range of gas compositions, bed pressures, interstitial velocities, and column temperatures were analyzed using a dynamic, nonisothermal, nontrace column breakthrough model. A linear driving force (LDF) approximation is used for particle uptake, and the Langmuir-Freundlich isotherm represents adsorption equilibrium. The LDF mass-transfer-rate coefficient (and, hence, effective particle diffusivity) and column-wall heat-transfer coefficient were determined. The results show that hydrocarbon transport in the activated carbon particles used is essentially by Knudsen and surface flow, while for the silica gel used the transport is primarily by Knudsen flow. For activated carbon, the experimentally derived LDF coefficients for all three sorbates are well correlated using an average effective diffusivity value. With regard to heat transfer, the column-wall Nusselt number is approximately constant for the range of Reynolds numbers considered. Simulations of multicomponent breakthrough in the activated-carbon bed based on independently measured single-component kinetic parameters and the extended Langmuir-Freundlich isotherm agree very well with experimental results. The computational efficiency gained by adopting the simpler extended Langmuir isotherm model is also investigated.