Study of Adsorption of Methanol in an Activated Carbon and Carbon Nanotube Matrix for Use in a Solar Based Refrigeration Cycle
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This thesis seeks to investigate the adsorption capabilities of activated carbon and carbon nanotubes. The adsorption of methanol on both of these substances was tested for their application in a solar based refrigeration cycle. Research on carbon nanotubes and their growth has been carried out for applications in the semiconductor industry. Enough focus has not been given to the use of nanotubes for refrigeration purposes. Adsorption refrigerators have been designed with the energy source being solar energy. Various adsorbent/adsorbate pairs have been tested in literature. The present work focuses on carbon nanotubes because theoretically, nanotubes should be able to adsorb better than activated carbon due to their high surface to volume ratios and hence a higher number of adsorption sites available for methanol to adsorb. The amount of adsorption of methanol on nanotubes depends on whether the end caps of the nanotubes are open or closed and also on the hydrophilic nature of the nanotubes. Nanotubes with ends closed are supposed to adsorb less than the nanotubes with their ends opened. The ends of carbon nanotubes can be blocked because of iron and other impurities. In this project, nanotubes are annealed under high vacuum to open the end caps. The hydrophobic nature of the nanotubes is corrected by treating them with concentrated nitric acid. The hydrophobic nature of the nanotubes is corrected by treating them with concentrated nitric acid. The acid treated nanotubes are used to obtain adsorption data at different temperatures. The adsorption of methanol on activated carbon, pristine and treated carbon nanotubes is measured at different temperatures. Electron microscopy is used to validate that annealing the nanotubes at high temperature under vacuum opens the end caps of the nanotubes. Finally, a matrix of nanotubes and carbon powder is prepared with different concentrations. The mixture is tested for adsorption of methanol. It is observed that the carbon nanotubes, pristine or treated, do not perform better than activated carbon. However, performance seems to increase when mixtures of activated carbon and carbon nanotubes are used as adsorbent. Also, it is found that mixtures containing annealed nanotubes perform better than mixtures with pristine nanotubes. Kinetics of the adsorption process is calculated for the different adsorbents used, which is used to explain the increase in the amount of methanol adsorbed for the activated carbon-carbon nanotube mixture.
Sambath, Srivaths (2011). Study of Adsorption of Methanol in an Activated Carbon and Carbon Nanotube Matrix for Use in a Solar Based Refrigeration Cycle. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from