Superfine powdered activated carbon incorporated into electrospun polystyrene fibers preserve adsorption capacity

Onur G. Apul, Natalia Hoogesteijn von Reitzenstein, Jared Schoepf, David Ladner, Kiril Hristovski, Paul Westerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A composite material consisted of superfine powdered activated carbon (SPAC) and fibrous polystyrene (PS) was fabricated for the first time by electrospinning. SPAC is produced by pulverizing powdered activated carbon. The diameter of SPAC (100–400 nm) is more than one hundred times smaller than conventional powdered activated carbon, but it maintains the internal pore structure based on organic micropollutant adsorption isotherms and specific surface area measurements. Co-spinning SPAC into PS fibers increased specific surface area from 6 m2/g to 43 m2/g. Unlike metal oxide nanoparticles, which are non-accessible for sorption from solution, electrospinning with SPAC created porous fibers. Composite SPAC-PS electrospun fibers, containing only 10% SPAC, had 30% greater phenanthrene sorption compared against PS fibers alone. SPAC particles embedded within the polymer were either partially or fully incorporated, and the accessibility of terminal adsorption sites were conserved. Conserving the adsorptive functionality of SPAC particles in electrospun non-woven polymeric fiber scaffolding can enable their application in environmental applications such as drinking water treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-464
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Aug 15 2017


  • Adsorption
  • Electrospinning
  • Phenanthrene
  • Polystyrene
  • Synthetic organic contaminants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Superfine powdered activated carbon incorporated into electrospun polystyrene fibers preserve adsorption capacity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this