Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Roberto M. Narbaitz

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jeffrey H. Greenfield

Third Advisor's Name

Robert J. Fennema



Date of Defense



The Polanyi Equilibrium Theory proposes that a characteristic curve exist which can, after the application of certain abscissa scale factors, describe the adsorption of all compounds on a given carbon. A study was undertaken, using published data from several sources on a variety of compounds and carbons to challenge the most fundamental aspects of the Polanyi Adsorption Equilibrium Theory. Its effectiveness as a predictive model was tested by constructing characteristic curves and comparing the observed isotherm data to the Polanyi predictions.

The results support the existence of the characteristic curve. However, in several instances, experimental data was required to accurately determine the required scale factors. Data from several compounds indicates that these scale factors can be estimated from a single data point. A comparison of predicted to observed scale factors indicates that polarizability is effective in providing only an approximation of the true abscissa scale factors.

An additional adjustment for adsorbate density is required to correct for the theorized inefficient packing of the solids in the carbon pores. However, after these empirically determined scale factors are applied, an accurate depiction of the data results.




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