Porous Fe@C Composites Derived from Silkworm Excrement for Effective Separation of Anisole Compounds

Yuxiang Wu, Yan Huang, Hong Huang, Yaseen Muhammad, Zuqiang Huang, Joseph Winarta, Yanjuan Zhang, Shuangxi Nie, Zhongxing Zhao, Bin Mu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Silkworm excrement is a very useful biomass waste, composed of layer-structured fats and proteins, which are great precursors for carbon composite materials. In this work, new porous composites derived from silkworm excrement were prepared for selective separation of flavor 4-methylanisole from the binary 4-methylanisole/4-anisaldehyde mixture. In particular, the silkworm excrement, possessing a unique nanosheet structure, is converted into a graphite-like carbon by a simple calcination strategy followed by a metal-ion-doping procedure. This Fe@C composite exhibits a special nano-spongy morphology, anchoring Fe3C/Fe5C2 on the carbon nanosheets. Density functional theory simulations showed that 4-methylanisole presents a stronger π-πinteraction and attraction forces with sp2 carbon nanosheets in Fe@C composites than 4-anisaldehyde. The selective adsorption experiments further confirmed that the Fe@C composites exhibited a 4-methylanisole capacity of 7.3 mmol/g at 298 K and the highest selectivity of 17 for an equimolar 4-methylanisole/4-anisaldehyde mixture among the examined adsorbents including MOFs and commercial activated carbon materials, which demonstrates the potential of this low-cost and eco-friendly porous carbon material as a promising sustainable adsorbent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21204-21213
Number of pages10
JournalACS Omega
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 17 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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