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Enhanced Desorption of RDX from Granular Activated Carbon

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Several methods (cosolvents, surfactants, and cyclodextrins) were compared for improving desorption of a high explosive, RDX, from granular activated carbon (GAC). In batch desorption tests, 3% of the adsorbed RDX (initially 71.1 mg RDX/g GAC) was desorbed by water over 11 days, compared to 92.6% desorption by 100% ethanol. Solutions of ethanol or methanol in water also effectively desorbed RDX, although methanol was somewhat less effective than ethanol. Sodium dodecyl sulfate desorbed as much as 70% of the adsorbed RDX, while the non-ionic surfactants Tween 80, Triton X-100, and Brij 30 desorbed as much as 42 to 51% of the RDX. In continuous flow column tests, GAC was partially regenerated. One-half of the adsorbed RDX was desorbed by 2100 bed volumes (BV) of 10% ethanol, compared to the 22 500 BV of buffered water. Column modeling indicated that competitive adsorption and altered equilibrium conditions combined to enhance RDX desorption.

Keywords: adsorption; cosolvents; desorption; granular activated carbon; high explosives; surfactants

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-03-01

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