Is Activated Carbon Pure Carbon?
February 18, 2021
Activated carbon can be called by many names including activated charcoal, active carbon, or activated coal. Whatever the iteration of its name is adopted, it is important to note that this material is an active adsorbent that can be used during a decontamination process.
Activated carbon has a high surface area and pore structure, these two properties play a key role when it comes to the decontamination process as it is able to extract all kinds of contaminants and toxic substances irrespective of its size. Activated carbon is perfect for the removal of macro, meso, and micro molecules.
Added to having a high surface area, activated carbons have been registered to have a high degree of surface reactivity thus making them a great option for purification of water, as well as other uses including de-chlorination, deodorization, and decolorization of vapor and liquids.
One major question that any Activated Carbon Supplier would have faced would be the question of whether activated carbon is pure carbon. The simple answer to this question is YES!
Activated carbon has become a preferred material in several purification processes, especially when it comes to industrial purification and that is because of its economical advantages. The material is a common purification material in industries that specialize in food-grade products, water filtration, automotive applications, cosmetology, recovery of petroleum and precious metals e.g., gold, and in the industrial gas purification process.
For many activated carbon suppliers like Pacific Coast Carbon LLC, some of the common base materials used in the production of activated carbon include coal, coconut shell, and wood.
Types of Activated Carbon
Having established that activated carbon is pure carbon, it becomes necessary to better understand the types of activated carbons that are available for use and their specific functions. Below are the common types of activated carbon.
Activated carbon made from coconut shell
As listed above, the coconut shell is one of the common base materials used in the production of activated carbon. Coconut shells are characterized by a large internal surface area which makes them perfect for adsorption processes. In addition to this, other characteristics like low dust, micro-porosity, and high hardness make the coconut shell a perfect base material for the making of activated carbons. The product of coconut shells can be used in air and water purification, water filters, respirators, and other items.
Some of the characteristics particular to coconut shell activated carbons include;
– Delivers excellent purification with no more than 3-5% ash content
– Has a very high surface area with largely distributed micropores.
– Low dust generation and high hardness
– It is renewable and green.
Activated carbon made from coal
Activated carbons made from coal are generally in high demand and this is because this material comes cheap and delivers an effective result. Activated carbons made from coal offer a high surface area that is characterized by micro and mesopores.
Some of the characteristics that stand this activated carbon material out include;
– Economical and cost-effective
– Minimal dust generated
– High hardness
– Consistent density
Activated carbon made from wood
Wood-based activated carbons are slightly different. Characterized by micro and mesopores, these materials are great for decolorization especially because of their attributed porosimetry. Wood-based activated carbons are green and renewable.
Application of Activated Carbon
Having understood the different types of activated carbon, it is also important to dove into its uses. While activated carbons are known for their decolorizing, decontamination, and purification properties, you must also know that different carbon are suitable for different needs,
Some of the common forms of carbon you will find include;
– Catalytic activated carbon
– Impregnated activated carbon
– Powdered activated carbon
– Pelletized activated carbon
– Granulated activated carbon
Each of these forms of activated carbon is classified into different grades and sizes which makes them application-specific and selection are based on desired results. The chances of getting the best result for whatever use rests solely on the ability to choose the correct activated carbon product and mesh size (micro, meso, or macro) required to remove the contaminant.
Some of the common general application of activated carbons, however, include;
- Removal of chloramine and chlorine
- Recovery of metals like gold
- Removal of odor and taste causing compounds like geosmin and MIB
- Drinking water filters make use of impregnated activated carbon to filter bacteria from drinking water.
- Activated carbon can be used for the removal of Hydrogen Sulfide and waste gases
- Activated carbon can also be used in the removal of organic compounds like PCE, TCE, Benzene, and others.
It is important to note that the physical and chemical properties of activated carbons – especially due to the base material used- play an important role in its effectiveness in the purification and decontamination of liquids and gases.