Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 6186–6198 | Cite as

Superior acetone uptake of hierarchically N-doped potassium citrate-based porous carbon prepared by one-step carbonization

  • Jie Gao
  • Liqing LiEmail author
  • Zheng Zeng
  • Xiancheng Ma
  • Ruofei Chen
  • Chunhao Wang
  • Ke Zhou
Chemical routes to materials


A novel hierarchically N-doped porous carbon material (NP) has been prepared using potassium citrate as the carbon source and urea as the nitrogen source by a facile one-step carbonization method. The resulting NP materials possess two important characteristics: (1) They have abundant nitrogen contents (up to 11.03%) and (2) they exhibit, in relation to porous carbon without urea doping (narrow micropore size), a wider mesopore size. The NP materials exhibit an excellent acetone adsorption capacity; a highest value of 1058 mg g−1 (15 °C) was provided by carbon material prepared in the case of urea/potassium citrate = 1 and 800 °C, which is 158.6% higher than that of the N-free material. The total pore volume, especially the mesoporous volume, was the key factor to determine acetone adsorption under relative high pressure due to the presence of a multilayer adsorption based on adsorption isotherm models. Meanwhile, nitrogen functional groups promoted adsorption process at relative low pressure, and density functional theory results further confirm nitrogen-containing functional groups enhance adsorption interaction between carbon surface and acetone molecule through the hydrogen bonding interaction. This study paves a new way to develop a novel hierarchically N-doped porous carbon with controllable well-developed porosity for the adsorption applications.



This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation China (No. 21878338), the National Key Technology Support Program (No. 2015BAL04B02), the Key Research and Development Project of Hunan Province, China (No. 2018SK2038) and Hunan Collaborative Innovation Center of Building Energy Conservation & Environmental Control.

Supplementary material

10853_2018_3300_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1099 kb)


  1. 1.
    Yang K, Xue F, Sun Q, Yue R, Lin D (2013) Adsorption of volatile organic compounds by metal-organic frameworks MOF-177. J Environ Chem Eng 1(4):713–718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Trinh Q, Gandhi M, Mok Y (2014) Adsorption and plasma-catalytic oxidation of acetone over zeolite-supported silver catalyst. Jpn J Appl Phys 54(1S):01AG04CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Li MS, Wu SC, Peng YH, Shih YH (2016) Adsorption of volatile organic vapors by activated carbon derived from rice husk under various humidity conditions and its statistical evaluation by linear solvation energy relationships. Sep Purif Technol 170:102–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zhang X, Gao B, Creamer AE, Cao C, Li Y (2017) Adsorption of VOCs onto engineered carbon materials: a review. J Hazard Mater 338:102–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tang L, Li L, Chen R, Wang C, Ma W, Ma X (2016) Adsorption of acetone and isopropanol on organic acid modified activated carbons. J Environ Chem Eng 4(2):2045–2051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Qiu W, Dou K, Zhou Y, Huang H, Chen Y, Lu H (2017) Hierarchical pore structure of activated carbon fabricated by CO2/microwave for VOCs adsorption. Chin J Chem Eng 26(1):81–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Arami-Niya A, Rufford TE, Zhu Z (2016) Activated carbon monoliths with hierarchical pore structure from tar pitch and coal powder for the adsorption of CO2, CH4 and N2. Carbon 103:115–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zhang L, You T, Tian Z, Xia Z, Feng X (2016) Interconnected hierarchical porous carbon from lignin-derived byproducts of bioethanol production for ultra-high performance supercapacitors. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 8(22):13918–13925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wang J, Feng S, Song Y, Li W, Gao W, Elzatahry AA, Aldhayan D, Xia Y, Zhao D (2015) Synthesis of hierarchically porous carbon spheres with yolk-shell structure for high performance supercapacitors. Catal Today 243(243):199–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Li L, Liu S, Liu J (2011) Surface modification of coconut shell based activated carbon for the improvement of hydrophobic VOC removal. J Hazard Mater 192(2):683–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ma X, Li L, Chen R, Wang C, Li H, Wang S (2018) Heteroatom-doped nanoporous carbon derived from MOF-5 for CO2 capture. Appl Surf Sci 435:494–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhu M, Zhou K, Sun X, Zhao Z, Tong Z, Zhao Z (2017) Hydrophobic N-doped porous biocarbon from dopamine for high selective adsorption of p-Xylene under humid conditions. Chem Eng J 317:660–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sun F, Wang J, Chen H, Li W, Qiao W, Long D, Ling L (2013) High efficiency immobilization of sulfur on nitrogen-enriched mesoporous carbons for Li–S batteries. Appl Mater Interfaces 5(12):5630–5638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Tsubouchi N, Nishio M, Mochizuki Y (2016) Role of nitrogen in pore development in activated carbon prepared by potassium carbonate activation of lignin. Appl Surf Sci 371:301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Guo L, Yang J, Hu G, Hu X, Wang L, Dong Y, Dacosta H, Fan M (2016) Role of hydrogen peroxide preoxidizing on CO2 adsorption of nitrogen-doped carbons produced from coconut shell. ACS Sustain Chem Eng 4(5):2806–2813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fuertes AB, Ferrero GA, Sevilla M (2014) One-pot synthesis of microporous carbons highly enriched in nitrogen and their electrochemical performance. J Mater Chem A 2(35):14439–14448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sevilla M, Fuertes AB (2014) Direct synthesis of highly porous interconnected carbon nanosheets and their application as high-performance supercapacitors. ACS Nano 8(5):5069–5078CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sevilla M, Fuertes A (2013) A general and facile synthesis strategy towards highly porous carbons: carbonization of organic salts. J Mater Chem A Mater Energy Sustain 87(1):13738–13741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lee DW, Jin MH, Oh D, Lee SW, Park JS (2017) Straightforward synthesis of hierarchically porous nitrogen-doped carbon via pyrolysis of chitosan/urea/KOH mixtures and its application as a support for formic acid dehydrogenation catalysts. ACS Sustain Chem Eng 5(11):9934–9935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Li D, Li L, Chen R, Wang C, Li H, Li H (2018) A MIL-101 composite doped with porous carbon from tobacco stem for enhanced acetone uptake at normal temperature. Ind Eng Chem Res 57(18):6226–6235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lim G, Lee KB, Ham HC (2016) Effect of N-containing functional groups on CO2 adsorption of carbonaceous materials: a density functional theory approach. J Phys Chem C 120(15):8087–8095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ma X, Li L, Chen R, Wang C, Zhou K, Li H (2019) Doping of alkali metals in carbon frameworks for enhancing CO2 capture: a theoretical study. Fuel 236:942–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Li L, Ma X, Chen R, Wang C, Lu M (2018) Nitrogen-containing functional groups-facilitated acetone adsorption by ZIF-8-derived porous carbon. Materials 11(1):159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zhou X, Chu W, Sun W, Zhou Y, Xue Y (2017) Enhanced interaction of nickel clusters with pyridinic-N (B) doped graphene using DFT simulation. Comput Theor Chem 1120:8–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Xu GY, Han JP, Bing D, Ping N, Jin P, Hui D, Li HS, Zhang XG (2015) Biomass-derived porous carbon materials with sulfur and nitrogen dual-doping for energy storage. Green Chem 17(3):1668–1674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sevilla M, Ferrero GA, Diez N, Fuertes AB (2018) One-step synthesis of ultra-high surface area nanoporous carbons and their application for electrochemical energy storage. Carbon 131:193–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    He L, An N, Gang L, Li J, Na L, Jia M, Zhang W, Yuan X (2016) Adsorption behaviors of methyl orange dye on nitrogen-doped mesoporous carbon materials. J Colloid Interface Sci 466:343–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Zhou X, Tang J, Yang J, Xie J, Huang B (2013) Seaweed-like porous carbon from the decomposition of polypyrrole nanowires for application in lithium ion batteries. J Mater Chem A 1(16):5037–5044CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Yang J, Xie J, Zhou X, Zou Y, Tang J, Wang S, Chen F, Wang L (2014) Functionalized N-doped porous carbon nanofiber webs for a Lithium–Sulfur battery with high capacity and rate performance. J Phys Chem C 118(4):1800–1807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Song H, Li H, Wang H, Key J, Ji S, Mao X, Wang R (2014) Chicken bone-derived N-doped porous carbon materials as an oxygen reduction electrocatalyst. Electrochim Acta 147:520–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Huang MC, Chou CH, Teng H (2002) Pore-size effects on activated-carbon capacities for volatile organic compound adsorption. AIChE J 48(8):1804–1810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Maldonadohódar FJ (2011) Removing aromatic and oxygenated VOCs from polluted air stream using Pt-carbon aerogels: assessment of their performance as adsorbents and combustion catalysts. J Hazard Mater 194(5):216–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ramirez D, Shaoying Qi A, Rood MJ, Hay KJ (2000) Equilibrium and heat of adsorption for organic vapors and activated carbons. J Environ Eng 39(15):267–271Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Zhou K, Li L, Ma X, Mo Y, Chen R, Li H, Li H (2018) Activated carbons modified by magnesium oxide as highly efficient sorbents for acetone. RSC Adv 8(6):2922–2932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Peng X, Hu F, Lam FL, Wang Y, Liu Z, Dai H (2015) Adsorption behavior and mechanisms of ciprofloxacin from aqueous solution by ordered mesoporous carbon and bamboo-based carbon. J Colloid Interface Sci 460:349–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Mosher K, He J, Liu Y, Rupp E, Wilcox J (2013) Molecular simulation of methane adsorption in micro- and mesoporous carbons with applications to coal and gas shale systems. Int J Coal Geol 109(2):36–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ma X, Li L, Chen R, Wang C, Zhou K, Li H (2018) Porous carbon materials based on biomass for acetone adsorption: effect of surface chemistry and porous structure. Appl Surf Sci 459:657–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ma X, Li L, Wang S, Lu M, Li H, Ma W, Keener TC (2016) Ammonia-treated porous carbon derived from ZIF-8 for enhanced CO2 adsorption. Appl Surf Sci 369:390–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Feng DY, Luo LA, Grevillot G (2002) Adsorption isotherms of VOCs onto an activated carbon monolith: experimental measurement and correlation with different models. J Chem Eng Data 47(3):467–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Saadi R, Saadi Z, Fazaeli R, Fard NE (2015) Monolayer and multilayer adsorption isotherm models for sorption from aqueous media. Korean J Chem Eng 32(5):787–799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kim Jonghwa, Lee† Changha, Kim Woosik, Lee Jongseok, Kim Jintae, Suh AJeongkwon, Lee‡ JM (2003) Adsorption equilibria of water vapor on alumina, zeolite 13X, and a zeolite X/activated carbon composite. J Chem Eng Data 48(1):137–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Zhang P, Wang L (2010) Extended Langmuir equation for correlating multilayer adsorption equilibrium data. Sep Purif Technol 70(3):367–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Energy Science and EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

Personalised recommendations