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Preparation and characterization of activated carbons by one-step steam pyrolysis/activation from apricot stones
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The activated carbons were prepared from Malatya (a city located in the south-east of Turkey) apricot stones by one-step steam pyrolysis/activation process and characterized for their pore structures. Three kinds of apricot stones that differ in their sulfur content, because of the different drying processes, were chosen for this study to investigate the effect of sulfur in the activated carbon production. The effect of process variables, such as activation temperature, soak time, and particle size range was studied on these samples. The activation temperature and time tested were in the ranges of 650-850 °C for 1-4 h. The activated carbons were evaluated for their chemical (elemental composition), surface (BET surface area, mercury porosimetry), and adsorption (iodine number) properties. Carbonization behavior of the apricot stones was investigated by thermogravimetric analysis. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to follow the changes in the carbon texture upon activation. The experimental results revealed that carbons obtained by the same conditions of activation show differences in their pore structures and adsorption characteristics due to their sulfur contents. The highest BET surface area carbon (1092 m2/g) was obtained from the low sulfur content (0.04%) apricot stone with a particle size range of 1-3.35 mm at the activation conditions of 800 °C for 4 h. The experimental results showed that commercial production of porous activated carbons from Malatya apricot stones is feasible in Turkey.