Activation of the carbonaceous material from the pyrolysis of waste tires for wastewater treatment.

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Malise, Lucky
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Vaal University of Technology
The generation of waste tires is one of the most serious environmental problems in the modern world due to the increased use of auto mobiles all over the world. Currently there is a problem with the disposal of waste tires generated since there are strict regulations concerning their disposal through landfill sites. Therefore, there is a need to find ways of disposing these waste tires which pose serious health and environmental problem. The pyrolysis of the waste tires has been recognised as the most promising method to dispose the waste tires because it can reduce the weight of the waste tires to 10% of its original weight and produce products such as pyrolysis oil, pyrolysis char, and pyrolysis char. These products can be further processed to produce value added products. The char produced from the pyrolysis of waste tires can be further activated to produce activated carbon. This study is based on the chemical activation of waste tire pyrolysis char to produce activated carbon for the removal of lead ions from aqueous solution. This was done by impregnating the waste tire pyrolysis char with Potassium hydroxide and activating it inside a tube furnace under inert conditions to produce waste tire activated carbon. Adsorbent characterisation techniques (SEM, FTIR, TGA, XRF, XRD, BET, and Proximate analysis) were performed on the waste tire pyrolysis char and the activated carbon produced to make a comparison between the two samples. The results showed that the waste tire activated carbon produced has better physical and chemical properties compared to the raw waste tire pyrolysis char. Adsorption results revealed that waste tire activated carbon achieves higher removal percentages of lead ions from aqueous solution compared to waste tire pyrolysis char. The results also showed the effect of various process variables on the adsorption process. Adsorption isotherms, kinetics, and thermodynamics were also studied. The adsorption of lead ions agreed with the Freundlich isotherm model for both the waste tire pyrolysis char and waste tire activated carbon. In terms of adsorption kinetics, the experimental data provided best fits for the pseudo-first order kinetic model for both the waste tire pyrolysis char and the waste tire activated carbon. The adsorption thermodynamics study revealed that the process is an exothermic process and spontaneous in nature. Response surface methodology was used to determine the combined effect of process variables on the adsorption of lead ions onto waste tire activated carbon and to optimise the process using numerical optimisation. The optimum conditions were found to be adsorbent dosage = 1g/100ml, pH = 7, contact time = 115.2 min, initial meta concentration = 100 mg/l, and temperature = 25°C to achieve a maximum adsorption capacity of 93.176 mg/l.
M.Tech. (Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology), Vaal University of Technology.
Waste tire activated carbon, Chemical activation, Adsorption capacity, Response surface methodology, Numerical optimization