Standard Active Last Updated: Jan 23, 2023
ASTM D6646-03(2022)

Standard Test Method for Determination of the Accelerated Hydrogen Sulfide Breakthrough Capacity of Granular and Pelletized Activated Carbon

Significance and Use

5.1 This method compares the performance of granular or pelletized activated carbons used in odor control applications, such as sewage treatment plants, pump stations, etc. The method determines the relative breakthrough performance of activated carbon for removing hydrogen sulfide from a humidified gas stream. Other organic contaminants present in field operations may affect the H2S breakthrough capacity of the carbon; these are not addressed by this test. This test does not simulate actual conditions encountered in an odor control application, and is therefore meant only to compare the hydrogen sulfide breakthrough capacities of different carbons under the conditions of the laboratory test.

5.2 This test does not duplicate conditions that an adsorber would encounter in practical service. The mass transfer zone in the 23 cm column used in this test is proportionally much larger than that in the typical bed used in industrial applications. This difference favors a carbon that functions more rapidly for removal of H2S over a carbon with slower kinetics. Also, the 1 % H2S challenge gas concentration used here engenders a significant temperature rise in the carbon bed. This effect may also differentiate between carbons in a way that is not reflected in the conditions of practical service.

5.3 This standard as written is applicable only to granular and pelletized activated carbons with mean particle diameters less than 2.5 mm. Application of this standard to activated carbons with mean particle diameters (MPD) greater than 2.5 mm will require a larger diameter adsorption column. The ratio of column inside diameter to MPD should be greater than 10 in order to avoid wall effects. In these cases it is suggested that bed superficial velocity and contact time be held invariant at the conditions specified in this standard (4.77 cm/s and 4.8 s). Although not covered by this standard, data obtained from these tests may be reported as in paragraph 12 along with additional information about column diameter, volume of carbon, and volumetric flow rate used.

5.4 For pelletized carbons, it is felt that the equivalent spherical diameter of the pellet is the most suitable parameter for determining the appropriate adsorption column inside diameter. The equivalent spherical diameter is calculated according to the following equation.

Equation D6646-03R22_1


d   =   the diameter, and
h   =   the length of the pellet in mm.

An average of 50 to 100 measurements is recommended to determine the average length of a pellet. Annex A3 is a table to guide the user in selecting bed diameter and flow rates from typical equivalent diameters (or MPD) of pelletized carbon.


1.1 This test method is intended to evaluate the performance of virgin, newly impregnated or in-service, granular or pelletized activated carbon for the removal of hydrogen sulfide from an air stream, under the laboratory test conditions described herein. A humidified air stream containing 1 % (by volume) hydrogen sulfide is passed through a carbon bed until 50 ppm breakthrough of H2S is observed. The H2S adsorption capacity of the carbon per unit volume at 99.5 % removal efficiency (g H2S/cm3 carbon) is then calculated. This test is not necessarily applicable to non-carbon adsorptive materials.

1.2 This standard as written is applicable only to granular and pelletized activated carbons with mean particle diameters (MPD) less than 2.5 mm. See paragraph 5.3 if activated carbons with larger MPDs are to be tested.

1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.4 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.01
Developed by Subcommittee: D28.04
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.1520/D6646-03R22
ICS Code: 19.020; 71.040.30