Effects of Humidity Fluctuations on Adsorption Columns Used for Air Purification in Closed Environments
Effects of a cabin-level humidity upset on an activated carbon column used for adsorption of trace compounds from air are examined through a series of experiments and computer simulations. Breakthrough curves measured for dichloromethane in the presence of water indicate that a rapid increase in relative humidity can displace large quantities of dichloromethane from the adsorbed phase resulting in effluent streams containing more than 20 times the feed concentration. Additionally, the breakthrough time for organic compounds is reduced significantly at high relative humidity. Numerical simulation results show favorable qualitative agreement with measured breakthrough curves, yet do not consistently predict accurate water or dichloromethane loadings at all experimental conditions.