ISSN print edition: 0366-6352
ISSN electronic edition: 1336-9075
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Application of cyanated asphaltenes in gas-phase adsorption processes for removal of volatile organic compounds

Maksymilian Plata-Gryl, Malwina Momotko, Sławomir Makowiec, and Grzegorz Boczkaj

Department of Process Engineering and Chemical Technology, Faculty of Chemistry, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdańsk, Poland



Received: 4 June 2019  Accepted: 14 September 2019


The paper presents an innovative, chemically modified (methylcyanated) asphaltene-based adsorbent that can be an interesting low-cost alternative for traditional adsorbents. Adsorption properties of adsorbents were examined by inverse gas chromatography technique, adsorption isotherms, and breakthrough curves. A significant increase in retention volume for pyridine, 2-pentanone, nitropropane, toluene, and 1-butanol was observed. Rohrschneider–McReynolds constants revealed an increase in strength of interactions as a result of the modification, especially in strong proton–acceptor interaction (by a factor of 4.6). The surface-free energy of asphaltene adsorbents increased from 136.71 to 169.95 mJ m−2 after modification. It is similar to the surface-free energy of silica or alumina. Moreover, modified adsorbent shows very high adsorption potential for pyridine. Adsorption isotherms revealed that monolayer adsorption capacity for pyridine increased 1.5 times after modification. Breakthrough curves of pyridine indicate that chemical modification increased the adsorption capacity, removal efficiency, and throughput. Scale-up calculations revealed that adsorption column packed with modified asphaltene adsorbent would be almost two times smaller compared to a column packed with unmodified one.

Graphic Abstract:

Keywords: Asphaltenes; Adsorption; Adsorbent; Adsorption isotherms; Breakthrough; VOCs removal

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-019-00938-z


Chemical Papers 74 (3) 995–1008 (2020)

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