Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Joseph W. Bozzelli

Second Advisor

Arthur Greenberg

Third Advisor

Barbara B. Kebbekus


The relative adsorption capacities of seven toxic, volatile organic air pollutants of either proven or suspected carcinogenic potential were tested on various adsorbents. Tests were run at flow velocities similar to those set in field sampling. This allows for extrapolation of test results to actual ambient air sampling systems. Experimentation was performed using a gas chromatograph (G.C.) equipped with a flame ionization detector. Sample introduction was carried out using the "displacement method" where the sample is introduced to the adsorbent cartridge as a plug.

Incipient elution volumes (VN), normalized for bulk adsorbent packing volume, were obtained at various temperatures. Plots were drawn of the In VN vs. 103/T (°K) for each adsorbate-adsorbent combination. The plots all show good linearity. From the plots, results indicate that Spherocarb is by far the strongest adsorbent for the volatile organics tested while Tenax is the weakest. XAD-2 is very close to Tenax in retentiveness, but retains CCl4 at the experimental flow velocity whereas Tenax does not. Porapak-T has adsorption capabilities consistently above Tenax and below Spherocarb, while Silica Gel shows a very strong retention of high boiling and water soluble compounds.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.