Activated carbon has been there with us for centuries. It has wide applications in various industries e.g. in the water-treatment, dye, sugar refining, among others. All the activated carbon available in Kenya is imported. Therefore, production of activated carbons locally and from locally available materials would be one of the most lucrative and environment-friendly solutions to this as it would transform negative–valued wastes to valuable materials. Thus, the main objective of this project is to prepare activated carbons from coconut shells using a two-step method and to establish the optimum conditions of production.
The two-step manufacturing process of activated carbon involves two different processes known as Carbonization and Activation. With this process, one can get Activated carbon of higher surface area and porosity. The Carbonization process involves Dehydration and Pyrolysis process.
Dehydration process mainly involves the removal of moisture from the crushed Coconut shell by heating it at a low temperature for a longer time period. Pyrolysis process is also the same but here we heat at a higher temperature for less time period for obtaining an irreversible chemical composition.
The activation process creates or increases porosity on the activated carbon Surface. In this process, Raw material or carbonized material is exposed to oxidizing atmospheres (oxygen or steam) at temperatures above 250 °C, usually in the temperature range of 600–1200 °C.
In this project, you will obtain Activated Carbon by performing the above steps with careful activation.
- Coconut shell: Coconut shell is one of the most important natural fillers produced in tropical countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Many works have been devoted to using of other natural fillers in composites in the recent past years and coconut shell filler is a potential candidate for the development of new composites because they have high strength and modulus properties along with the added advantage of high lignin content.
- Activated Carbon: Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms. The use of special manufacturing techniques results in highly porous charcoals that have surface areas of 300-2,000 square meters per gram. These so-called active, or activated, charcoals are widely used to adsorb odorous or colored substances from gases or liquids.
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- First, collect coconut shells from your locality and perform the following steps to obtain Activated carbon.
- Then crush the coconut shells into small pieces of about 2mm diameter to give a large surface area for dehydration. Then sieve those to get rid of dust particles and other impurities.
- Then place the crushed coconut shells in an oven and maintain the temperature at 105oC and soak it for 24 hours. Place the dried coconut shells in an airtight plastic bags to prevent re-absorption of moisture from the atmospheric air.
- Place the coconut shells (about 103gms)in a crucible, and fit the lid tightly to ensure an airtight environment. Then place crucible in the furnace carefully and close it.
- Then switch on the furnace and heat crucible to a temperature of 460oC, held it constant for 30 minutes to allow pyrolysis to take place. As is the case in dehydration, keep the charcoal obtained from pyrolysis process in an airtight bag. Then Place the charcoal obtained from pyrolysis in the activation unit and heat the furnace to a temperature of 750oC. Then allow Steam to flow from the pressure cooker to it for 30 minutes with temperature held constant. AT the end of this step you will obtain Activated carbon.
Project Brief: With the successful completion of the project, you will get Activated carbon which will have proper chemical composition.
- Ball Milling Machine: A ball mill is a type of grinder used to grind and blend materials for use in mineral dressing processes, paints, pyrotechnics, ceramics, and selective laser sintering. It works on the principle of impact and attrition and size reduction is done by impact as the balls drop from near the top of the shell. You will use this machine to obtain coconut ass shell of 45 microns.
- Sieving Machine: A Sieving machine is a device which is used to separate wanted elements from unwanted materials. You will use this machine for characterizing coconut ass shell of the desired size.
- Magnetic stirring: You will use this machine to make a mixture of coconut shell ash and polypropylene in various proportions like 10%, 15%, 20%, and 25% to produce different samples. Carbon Nano Tube is added to the solution having a percentage of .25 and .35 respectively while heating the mixture for 2hrs.
- Injection Moulding machine: Injection molding uses a ram or screw-type plunger to force molten plastic material into a mold cavity; this solidifies into a shape that has confirmed to the contour of the mold. It is most commonly used to process both thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers. You will use this machine to obtain sample composite material as soon in the figure for testing purpose.
- Pin-On-Disc Wear Tester: A pin on the disc is a tribometer consists of a stationary pin under an applied load in contact with a rotating disc. The pin can have any shape to simulate a specific contact, but spherical tips are often used to simplify the contact geometry. Two types of disc are mainly used that are tungsten alloy and mild steel. Mild steel is used for metals and tungsten alloy for polymers.
- Universal Testing Machine: A universal testing machine is generally used to test the tensile stress and compressive strength of materials. As it is able to perform many standard tensile and compression tests on materials, components, and structures, it is named as Universal Testing Machine (UTM). You need this machine to perform a various test on the fabricated composite material of yours.
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Kit required to develop Preparation of Activated Carbon from locally available material Viz. is Coconut shell:
- WINDUCOM software: Graphical representation of wear rate along with friction force and coefficient of friction is given by WINDUCOM software which is integrated with Pin-On-Disk Wear tester and the results will show the coefficient of friction in relation with (time, speed and load) and the systematic comparisons of one material with the other.
- Miniplot: You can use this software for plotting and comparing your result data.
Technologies you will learn by working on Preparation of Activated Carbon from locally available material Viz. is Coconut shell:
Preparation of Activated Carbon from locally available material