Electrochemical modification of activated carbon fiber as 3-D particle electrodes: characterization and enhancement for the degradation of m-cresol

  • Weijun Liu
  • Xiang HuEmail author
  • Zhirong Sun
  • Pingzhou Duan
Research Article


Commercial activated carbon fiber (ACF) has been employed as particle electrodes to degrade aqueous m-cresol in 3-D electrode systems. To enhance the electrooxidation performance, three types of new ACF modification modes (anodic oxidation, cathodic reduction, and aqueous oxidation with concentrated HNO3) were introduced in this paper. These pretreated samples were characterized by N2 adsorption, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), cyclic voltammetry (CV), temperature-programmed desorption mass (TPD-MS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). It was revealed that the two new modification methods could efficiently modify the surface morphology as well as the chemical property. Eight types of surface oxygen groups (SOGs) were identified on the surface of ACF, and the types and amount of SOGs might be related to the oxidation effect of ACF on the 3-D electrodes. The effect and mechanism of these SOGs on electrooxidation performance were discussed with the aid of the frontier molecular orbital theory. It was demonstrated that the H2O2–·OH reaction mechanism was improved in the 3-D electrode system and the mechanism was elucidated.


3-D particle electrodes Electrooxidation Activated carbon fiber Electrochemical modification Surface oxygen groups M-cresol 


Funding information

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No. 51278022 and Project No. 51178022) and the Key Research and the Development Projects of Shanxi Province (Project No. 201803D31003).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4979_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1043 kb)


  1. Daniel R, Prabhakara R (2012) An efficient removal of arsenic from industrial effluents using electro-coagulation as clean technology option. Int J Environ Res 6:711–718Google Scholar
  2. Djilali AYMZ (2015) Electrogeneration of hydrogen peroxide for electro-Fenton via oxygen reduction using polyacrylonitrile-based carbon fiber brush cathode. Electrochim Acta 56:1657–1668Google Scholar
  3. Figueiredo JL, Pereira MFR, Freitas MMA, Órfão JJM (2007) Characterization of active sites on carbon catalysts. Ind Eng Chem Res 46:4110–4115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. George S (1994) Infrared characteristic group frequencies: tables and charts, 2nd edn. Wiley, Chichester New York, p 249Google Scholar
  5. Gorgulho HF, Mesquita JP, Goncalves F et al (2008) Characterization of the surface chemistry of carbon materials by potentiometric titrations and temperature-programmed desorption. Carbon 46:1544–1555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hueso JL, Espinós JP, Caballero A, Cotrino J, González-Elipe AR (2007) XPS investigation of the reaction of carbon with NO, O2, N2 and H2O plasmas. Carbon 45:89–96Google Scholar
  7. Li N, Ma X, Zha Q, Kim K, Chen Y, Song C (2011a) Maximizing the number of oxygen-containing functional groups on activated carbon by using ammonium persulfate and improving the temperature-programmed desorption characterization of carbon surface chemistry. Carbon 49:5002–5013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Li P, Peng C, Li F et al (2011b) Copper and nickel recovery from electroplating sludge by the process of acid-leaching and electro-depositing. Int J Environ Res 5:797–804Google Scholar
  9. Liu P, He S, Wei H, Wang J, Sun C (2015a) Characterization of alpha-Fe2O3/gamma-Al2O3 catalysts for catalytic wet peroxide oxidation of m-cresol. Ind Eng Chem Res 54:130–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Liu P, Wei H, He S et al (2015b) Catalytic wet peroxide oxidation of m-cresol over Fe/γ-Al2O3 and Fe-Ce/γ-Al2O3. Chem Pap 69:827–838Google Scholar
  11. Lv G, Wu D, Fu R (2009) Performance of carbon aerogels particle electrodes for the aqueous phase electro-catalytic oxidation of simulated phenol wastewaters. J Hazard Mater 165:961–966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ma L, Yu B, Yu Y, Li J, Ren J, Wei H, Sun C (2014a) Indirect electrochemical oxidation of pentachlorophenol in the presence of different halides: behavior and mechanism. Desalin Water Treat 52:1462–1471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ma L, Sun C, Ren J, Wei H, Liu P (2014b) Efficient electrochemical incineration of phenol on activated carbon fiber as a new type of particulates. Russ J Electrochem 50:569–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ma L, Chen Z, Xu C, Li F, Jin H, Shi L, Hu HY (2018) Water meta-cycle model and indicators for industrial processes—the pulp & paper case in China. Resour Conserv Recycl 139:228–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ma L, Jin C, An L, Huang L, Li L, Jin H, Liang B, Wei H, Sun C (2019) Preliminary investigation of the degradation mechanism of o, m and p-cresol using sludge-derived carbon nanosheets by catalytic oxidation based on quantum chemistry. Catal Commun 120:59–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Menendez JA, Menendez EM, Iglesias MJ et al (1999) Modification of the surface chemistry of active carbons by means of microwave-induced treatments. Carbon 37:1115–1121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pereira M, Soares SF, Orfao J et al (2003) Adsorption of dyes on activated carbons: influence of surface chemical groups. Carbon 41:811–821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Polcaro AM, Palmas S, Renoldi F, Mascia M (2000) Three-dimensional electrodes for the electrochemical combustion of organic pollutants. Electrochim Acta 46:389–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Protection EMO (1996) Integrated wastewater discharge standard, p 23Google Scholar
  20. Quintanilla A, Casas JA, Rodriguez JJ (2007) Catalytic wet air oxidation of phenol with modified activated carbons and Fe/activated carbon catalysts. Appl Catal B Environ 76:135–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ren Y, Peng L, Deng L et al (2009) Isolation and characterization of Citrobacter farmeri SCO1: a novel m-cresol-degrading strain. Environ Eng Sci 26:1489–1495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rocha RP, Silva AMT, Romero SMM, Pereira MFR, Figueiredo JL (2014) The role of O- and S-containing surface groups on carbon nanotubes for the elimination of organic pollutants by catalytic wet air oxidation. Appl Catal B Environ 147:314–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sarkka H, Bhatnagar A, Sillanpaa M (2015) Recent developments of electro-oxidation in water treatment—a review. J Electroanal Chem 754:46–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sires I, Brillas E, Oturan MA et al (2014) Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes: today and tomorrow. A review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21:8336–8367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Solum MS, Pugmire RJ, Jagtoyen M, Derbyshire F (1995) Evolution of carbon structure in chemically activated wood. Carbon 33:1247–1254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wang Y, Wei H, Zhao Y, Sun W, Sun C (2017) The optimization, kinetics and mechanism of m-cresol degradation via catalytic wet peroxide oxidation with sludge-derived carbon catalyst. J Hazard Mater 326:36–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wu X, Yang X, Wu D, Fu R (2008) Feasibility study of using carbon aerogel as particle electrodes for decoloration of RBRX dye solution in a three-dimensional electrode reactor. Chem Eng J 138:47–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wu W, Huang Z, Hu Z et al (2017) High performance duplex-structured SnO2-Sb-CNT composite anode for bisphenol A removal. Sep Purif Technol 179:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Xiong Y, He C, An TC, Zhu X, Karlsson HT (2003a) Removal of formic acid from wastewater using three-phase three-dimensional electrode reactor. Water Air Soil Pollut 144:67–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Xiong Y, He C, Karlsson HT, Zhu X (2003b) Performance of three-phase three-dimensional electrode reactor for the reduction of COD in simulated wastewater-containing phenol. Chemosphere 50:131–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Xu L, Zhao H, Shi S et al (2008) Electrolytic treatment of CI Acid Orange 7 in aqueous solution using a three-dimensional electrode reactor. Dyes Pigments 77:158–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yang S, Xiao T, Zhang J, Chen Y, Li L (2015) Activated carbon fiber as heterogeneous catalyst of peroxymonosulfate activation for efficient degradation of Acid Orange 7 in aqueous solution. Sep Purif Technol 143:19–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yu Y, Wei H, Yu L, Gu B, Li X, Rong X, Zhao Y, Chen L, Sun C (2016a) Catalytic wet air oxidation of m-cresol over a surface-modified sewage sludge-derived carbonaceous catalyst. Catal Sci Technol 6:1085–1093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yu Y, Wei H, Yu L, Wang W, Zhao Y, Gu B, Sun C (2016b) Sewage-sludge-derived carbonaceous materials for catalytic wet hydrogen peroxide oxidation of m-cresol in batch and continuous reactors. Environ Technol 37:153–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zhou J, Sui Z, Zhu J et al (2007) Characterization of surface oxygen complexes on carbon nanofibers by TPD, XPS and FT-IR. Carbon 45:785–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zhu X, Ni J, Xing X, Li H, Jiang Y (2011) Synergies between electrochemical oxidation and activated carbon adsorption in three-dimensional boron-doped diamond anode system. Electrochim Acta 56:1270–1274CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Chemical EngineeringBeijing University of Chemical TechnologyBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Research Center for Environmental Pollution Control and Resource Reuse Engineering of Beijing CityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Environmental & Energy EngineeringBeijing University of TechnologyBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations