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Water Res. 2002 Apr;36(8):1939-46.

The leaching of inorganic species from activated carbons produced from waste tyre rubber.

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  • 1Centre for Environmental Control and Waste Management, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK.


Waste tyre rubber can be used as a precursor for the production of high quality activated carbons. However, there is concern that inorganic impurities present in the rubber feed may restrict their use in liquid phase applications with high purity requirements. This paper presents an investigation of the presence and the leaching of inorganic species from activated carbons derived from waste tyre rubber. For the purpose of this work, a number of carbons were produced, characterised for their BET surface area and analysed for their inorganic composition. Subsequently, a number of tests were performed to evaluate the leaching of different inorganic species into solution at various pH values and carbon doses. Results showed that rubber-derived carbons contained elevated concentrations of sulphur and zinc, as well as traces of other metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium and molybdenum. Inorganic levels were significantly affected by production conditions, particularly degree of carbon activation and the nature of the gasification agent. However, leaching tests showed that the availability of these species in neutral pH conditions was very limited. Results demonstrated that, when using carbons doses comparable to those employed in water treatment works, only sulphur levels exceeded, in some occasions, health based quality standards proposed for drinking water.

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