In this paper, the hydrophobicity of 13 activated carbons is determined by various methods; water vapour adsorption, immersion calorimetry, and contact angle measurements. The quantity and type of oxygen-containing groups on the activated carbon were measured and related to the methods used to measure hydrophobicity. It was found that the water-activated carbon adsorption strength (based on immersion calorimetry, contact angles) depended on both type and quantity of oxygen-containing groups, while water vapour adsorption depended only on their quantity. Activated carbon hydrophobicity measurements alone could not be related to 1-hexanol and 1,3-dichloropropene adsorption. However, a relationship was found between work of adhesion and adsorption of these solutes. The work of adhesion depends not only on activated carbon-water interaction (carbon hydrophobicity), but also on solute-water (solute hydrophobicity) and activated carbon-solute interactions. Our research shows that the work of adhesion can explain solute adsorption and includes the effect of hydrogen bond formation between solute and activated carbon. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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