Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.56, No.14, 4351-4368, 2001
On the surface diffusion of hydrocarbons in microporous activated carbon
This paper addresses the current status of the various diffusion theories for surface diffusion in the literature. The inadequacy of these models to explain the surface diffusion of many hydrocarbons in microporous activated carbon is shown in this paper. They all can explain the increase of the surface diffusivity (D-mu) with loading, but cannot explain the increase of the surface permeability (D(mu)partial derivativeC(mu)/partial derivativeP) with loading as observed in our data of diffusion of hydrocarbons in activated carbon, even when the surface heterogeneity is accounted for in those models. The explanation for their failure was presented, and we have put forward a theory to explain the increase of surface diffusion permeability with loading. This new theory assumes the variation of the activation energy for surface diffusion with surface loading, and it is validated with diffusion data of propane, n-butane, n-hexane, benzene and ethanol in activated carbon.