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Characterization of acid tar waste from benzol purification

C Danha
DJ Simbi
PK Kuipa


The use of concentrated sulphuric acid to purify benzene, toluene and xylene produces acidic waste known as acid tar. The characterization of the acid tar to determine the composition and physical properties to device a way to use the waste was done. There were three acid tars two from benzene (B acid tar), toluene and xylene (TX acid tar) purification streams and one which was from the storage tank (HT acid tar). The viscosity and density varied greatly amoung the three acid tars with B acid tar having the lowest viscosity (28.3mPa.s) and HT acid tar having the highest viscosity (63.592Pa.s). For density HT had the lowest (1.43g/ml) and TX had the highest (1.549g/ml). The sulphuric acid % concentration was 15.4% for HT, 23.7% for TX and 24.2% for B acid tar. The solubility test also showed a difference in the three acid tars, B acid tar was more soluble in water than in methanol while the other two were more soluble in methanol than in water. GC MS and FT-IR results showed that TX and HT acid tars had weak organic acid such carboxylic acid, alcohols and aldehydes. The B acid tar had few organics as compared to TX and HT. The results show that the sulphuric acid is being lost in the holding tank and the physical and chemical properties of B and TX acid tar are different thus the need to treat differently if they are to be treated separately. The HT acid tar has properties that make it easier to work with; an example is the high viscosity and the high organic content.

Keywords: Acid tar, benzol processing, sulphuric acid, organic acids, characterization and viscosity

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eISSN: 2079-8997
print ISSN: 2079-8997