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Webinar: Adsorption of volatile organic compounds by industrial porous materials: Impact of relative humidity

Date: Wednesday, 06 May 2020

The adsorption of several classes of volatile organic compounds by materials with a range of pore size distributions and chemistries were assessed gravimetrically in both dry and wet carrier gas conditions. Measurements carried out at room temperature, and a range of relative humidity values (RH) from 0 to 70%, reflected real-world conditions similar to those of indoor air. Dry removal performance appeared to be dependent on the surface area of adsorbents and, for polar compounds, the relative hydrophobicity of the material. Performance of sorbents with hydrophilic surface chemistry, such as silica gel and molecular sieve 13X, decreased drastically with small increases in pre-exposed humidity. Activated charcoal and high-silica faujasite Y retained their capacities for toluene in relative humidities up to 50% and 70% respectively, with their selectivity for non-polar species credited to hydrophobic pore structure and low water vapour uptake. These conclusions help to emphasise the importance of process humidity as a key parameter when designing or selecting adsorbents in realistic process conditions. Additionally, the methods used in this study provide a simple and reproducible way of testing porous materials for applications requiring or involving high levels of relative humidity.


Prof Daryl Williams

Prof. Daryl Williams Prof. Daryl R. Williams graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Physical Chemistry from University of Melbourne, Australia and a M.Sc. in Polymer Science from Lehigh University, USA before coming to Imperial College London complete his PhD. He is founder and Managing Director of Surface Measurement Systems and the Professor of Particle Science in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College.

Prof. Williams has published over 100 papers in refereed journals and been granted international 5 patents. His research interests include the surface and bulk characterisation of complex organic solids, including especially biopharmaceutics, foods, pharmaceuticals and polymers as well as their manufacture using spray drying, crystallisation, freeze drying, milling and granulation. The Surface and Particle Engineering Laboratory at Imperial College he leads has 4 Postdoctoral research fellows and 11 PhD students.

He has invented one and has led the commercialisation of two standard techniques for materials characterisation, the Dynamics Vapour Sorption (DVS) and the Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC) methods via Surface Measurement Systems. His work has been recognised by Imperial College with the President’s Medal in 2017, the EEF’s Future Manufacturing Award in Innovation for 2018 and the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ Geldart Medal in 2018/19 for his “major contribution to particle technology”.