Acetone adsorption capacity of sulfur-doped microporous activated carbons prepared from polythiophene

  • Junchao Zhu
  • Ruofei Chen
  • Zheng Zeng
  • Changqing Su
  • Ke Zhou
  • Yamian Mo
  • Yang Guo
  • Fan Zhou
  • Jie Gao
  • Liqing LiEmail author
Research Article


Sulfur-doped activated carbons (SACs) with high sulfur content and large specific surface area were synthesized from polythiophene for acetone removal. The sulfur content of carbons (3.10–8.43 at.%) could be tunable by adjusting the activation temperature. The BET surface area and pore volume of the obtained samples were 916–2020 m2 g−1 and 0.678–1.100 cm3 g−1, with a significant proportion of microporosity (up to 84% and 72% for BET surface area and pore volume, respectively). The resulting SACs show a superior acetone adsorption capacity (i.e., 716.4 mg g−1 at 15 °C and 705 mg g−1 at 25 °C for SAC700). In terms of the adsorption behavior of acetone on the activated carbons, compared to the Langmuir model, the Langmuir-Freundlich model showed better agreement with the adsorption amount. The results reveal that the surface area and micropore volume are the key factors for acetone adsorption, while the sulfur-doped functional groups, especially oxidized sulfur functional groups, can enhance the acetone adsorption capacity at a certain low pressure. Temperature programmed desorption (TPD) experiments were performed to get desorption activation energy of acetone on SAC samples, and the results ranged from 23.54 to 38.71 kJ mol−1. The results of the molecular simulation show that the introduction of sulfur element can increase the binding energy between acetone molecule and carbon surface, and the tri-oxidized sulfur (sulfonic acid) functional group has the highest binding energy of − 0.4765 eV.

Graphical abstract


Acetone adsorption Sulfur doping Activated carbons Temperature programmed desorption Molecular simulation Density functional theory 


Funding information

We acknowledge the financial support from the National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 21878338) and the Key Research and Development Project of Hunan Province, China (No. 2018SK2038).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5051_MOESM1_ESM.docx (342 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 342 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junchao Zhu
    • 1
  • Ruofei Chen
    • 1
  • Zheng Zeng
    • 1
  • Changqing Su
    • 1
  • Ke Zhou
    • 1
  • Yamian Mo
    • 1
  • Yang Guo
    • 1
  • Fan Zhou
    • 1
  • Jie Gao
    • 1
  • Liqing Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Energy Science and EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

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