, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 607–617 | Cite as

Preparation and performance comparison of cellulose-based activated carbon fibres

  • Kanza Hina
  • Hantao Zou
  • Wu Qian
  • Danying Zuo
  • Changhai Yi
Original Paper


Activated carbon fiber (ACF) is widely used sorbent material for wastewater treatment. Three natural cellulosic fibres (kapok, cotton, and ramie) and three regenerated cellulosic fibres (bamboo fiber, viscose, and lyocell) are used to prepare ACFs using chemical activation. These ACFs are characterized using scanning electron microscope, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) testing, elemental analysis, adsorption property and nitrogen adsorption–desorption. XRD and FTIR spectrum of all six cellulosic ACFs are almost similar showing that ACFs have almost same chemical and physical composition. All cellulosic ACFs are constituted of C, H, ash and O, but C content is higher in natural cellulosic fibres. Surface morphology and surface area of cellulosic ACFs play the basic role in adsorption. The 2nd order pseudo kinetic model is fitted for all cellulosic ACFs as R2 > 0.99 and adsorption controlling process is chemical sorption. The adsorption capacity of the kapok-based ACFs is best, owing to their hollow structure, the micropores on surface and high specific surface area. Bamboo, ramie and cotton based ACFs also have high adsorption but they need more time to adsorb impurities than kapok based ACFs. Viscose based ACFs shows moderate adsorption, while the least adsorption is shown by the lyocell based ACFs because of their smooth and uniform structure. Adsorption analysis and other properties evaluation show that kapok fiber is the best precursor than other five cellulosic fibres.


Cellulose-based ACFs Chemical activation Adsorption Absorption kinetics Specific surface area 



The financial support from the National Nature Science Fund of China (51303139) and the Scientific Research Foundation of Hubei Provincial Education Department (No: Q20121710) is greatly appreciated.


  1. Aber S, Khataee A, Sheydaei M (2009) Optimization of activated carbon fiber preparation from Kenaf using K2HPO4 as chemical activator for adsorption of phenolic compound. Bioresour Technol 100:6586–6591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aharoni C, Tompkins EC (1970) Kinetics of adsorption and desorption and the Elovich equation. Adv Catal 21:1–49Google Scholar
  3. AlcaAiz-Monge J, Linares-Solano A, Rand B (2002) Mechanism of adsorption of water in carbon micropores as revealed by a study of activated carbon fibres. J Phys Chem B 106:3209–3216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Altenor S, Carene B, Emmanuel E, Lambert J, Ehrhardt JJ, Gaspard S (2009) Adsorption studies of methylene blue and phenol onto vetiver roots activated carbon prepared by chemical activation. J Hazard Mater 165:1029–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Avelar FF, Bianchi ML, Goncalves M, Mota JEG (2009) The use of Pissava fibres (Attalea funifera) in the preparation of activated carbon. Biosour Technol 101:639–4645Google Scholar
  6. Dąbrowski A, Podkościelny P, Hubicki Z, Barczak M (2005) Adsorption of phenolic compounds by activated carbon—a critical review. Chemosphere 58:1049–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dastgheib SA, Karanfil T, Cheng W (2004) Tailoring activated carbons for enhanced removal of natural organic matter from natural waters. Carbon N Y 42:547–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Du X, Zhao W, Wang Y, Wang C, Chen M, Qi T, Hua C, Ma M (2013) Preparation of activated carbon hollow fibres from ramie at low temperature for electric double-layer capacitor applications. Bioresour Technol 149:31–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. El Qada EN, Allen SJ, Walker GM (2006) Adsorption of methylene blue onto activated carbon produced from steam activated bituminous coal: a study of equilibrium adsorption isotherm. Chem Eng J 124:103–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gupta VK, Suhas (2009) Application of low-cost adsorbents for dye removal—a review. J Environ Manag 90:2313–2342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hameed BH, Ahmad AL, Latiff KNA (2007a) Adsorption of basic dye (methylene blue) onto activated carbon prepared from rattan sawdust. Dyes Pigments 75:143–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hameed BH, Din ATM, Ahmad AL (2007b) Adsorption of methylene blue onto bamboo-based activated carbon: kinetics and equilibrium studies. J Hazard Mater 141:819–825CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kumagai S, Ishizawa H, Toida Y (2010) Influence of solvent type on dibenzothiophene adsorption onto activated carbon fiber and granular coconut-shell activated carbon. Fuel 89:365–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee T, Ooi CH, Othman R, Yeoh FY (2009) Activated carbon fiber—the hybrib of carbon fiber and activated carbon. Adv Mater Sci 36:118–136Google Scholar
  15. Liu QS, Zheng T, Li N, Wang P, Abulikemu G (2010) Modification of bamboo-based activated carbon using microwave radiation and its effects on adsorption of methylene blue. Appl Surf Sci 256:3309–3315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Maciá-Agulló JA, Moore BC, Cazorla-Amorós D, Linares-Solano A (2004) Activation of coal tar pitch carbon fibres: physical activation versus chemical activation. Carbon N Y 42:1361–1364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mayagoitia V (1991) The five type of porous structures and their hyteresis loops. Stud Surf SciCatal 62:51–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mochida I, Korai Y, Shirahama M, Kawano S (2000) Removal of SOx and NOx over activated carbon fibres. Carbon 38:227–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Naindi M, Okada K, Dutta A, Bhaumik A, Maruyama J, Derks D, Uyama H (2012) Unprecedented CO2 uptake over highly porous N-doped activated carbon monoliths prepared by physical activation. Chem Commun 48:10283–10285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Okada K, Yamamoto N, Kameshima Y, Yasumori A (2003) Adsorption properties of activated carbon from waste newspaper prepared by chemical and physical activation. J Colloid Interface Sci 262:194–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pelekani C, Snoeyink VL (1999) Competitive adsorption in natural water: role of activated carbon pore size. Water Res 33:1209–1219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Phan NH, Rio S, Faur C, Le Coq L, Le Cloirec P, Nguyen TH (2006) Production of fibrous activated carbons from natural cellulose (jute, coconut) fibres for water treatment applications. Carbon N Y 44:2569–2577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rosas LM, Bedia J, Rodríguez-Mirasol J, Cordero T (2009) HEMP-derived activated carbon fibres by chemical activation with phosphoric acid. Fuel 88:19–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shrestha S, Son G, Lee SH, Lee TG (2013) Isotherm and thermodynamic studies of Zn (II) adsorption on lignite and coconut shell-based activated carbon fiber. Chemosphere 92:1053–1061CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Singh KP, Mohan D, Sinha S, Tondon GS, Gosh D (2003) Color removal from wastewater using low-cost activated carbon derived from agricultural waste material. Ind Eng Chem Res 42:1965–1976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Su CI, Zeng ZL, Peng CC, Lu CH (2012) Effect of temperature and activators on the characteristics of activated carbon fibres prepared from viscose-rayon knitted fabrics. Fibres Polym 13:21–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Subramanian V, Luo C, Stephan AM, Nahm KS, Thomas S, Wei B (2007) Supercapacitors from activated carbon derived from banana fibres. J Phys Chem C 111:7527–7531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Suhas, Carrott PJM, Ribeiro Carrott MML (2007) Lignin—from natural adsorbent to activated carbon: a review. Bioresour Technol 98:2301–2312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vargas AMM, Cazetta AL, Kunita MH, Silva TL, Almeida VC (2011) Adsorption of methylene blue on activated carbon produced from flamboyant pods (Delonix regia): study of adsorption isotherms and kinetic models. Chem Eng J 168:722–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wang YQ, Zhou MH, Rong D, Han B (2007) Preparation and characterization of a novel activated carbon fiber based on kapok. In: Proceedings of International Conference on advanced fibres and polymer material, pp 571–574Google Scholar
  31. Williams PT, Reed AR (2006) Development of activated carbon pore structure via physical and chemical activation of biomass fibre waste. Biomass Bioenerg 30:144–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zhang S, Shao T, Kose HS, Tanju K (2010) Adsorption of aromatic compounds by carbonaceous adsorbents: a comparative study on granular activated carbon, activated carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes. Environ Sci Technol 44:6377–6383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zheng JY, Zhao QL, Ye ZF (2014) Preparation and characterization of activated carbon fiber (ACF) from cotton woven waste. Appl Surf Sci 299:86–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kanza Hina
    • 1
  • Hantao Zou
    • 1
  • Wu Qian
    • 1
  • Danying Zuo
    • 1
  • Changhai Yi
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Green Processing and Functional Textile of New Textile Materials (Wuhan Textile University)Ministry of EducationWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations