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How Does Activated Carbon Work?

Activated Carbon 

Activated carbon, which is often called activated charcoal, is a kind of processed carbon that has an increased overall surface area that is used to adsorb particles and toxins from liquids or the air.

Activated Carbon vs Charcoal - Is There Any Difference?

Activated carbon is sometimes called 'activated charcoal' and refers to the same thing. Technically speaking, carbon is a pure element from the periodic table that occurs naturally. Granular activated carbon can also be called 'active' carbon or charcoal. Essentially, what is called 'activated carbon' is usually made from raw material such as bone char, peat, petroleum coke, coal, sawdust, and even coconut shells. These are processed at high temperatures to increase the surface area of the carbon and are used in the manufacture of filters that purify the water and the air.

Activated Carbon Adsorption - What Does Adsorb Mean?

When activated carbon 'adsorbs' (not absorbs) something it means that it is soaking things up from the air or liquid to remove the desired impurity. It can be used to adsorb harmful gases from the air or poisonous and unwanted substances from water.

Activated carbon is a potent adsorption material that draws foreign or unwanted particles into it thereby removing them from the original medium - be it water or gas like the air. The unwanted particles stick, or adhere, to the carbon surface - almost like the carbon 'grabs' them from the air or liquid they are in. The large surface area, molecular weight, and pore structure maximizes the efficiency of the process and the small pore size hold the particles within its structure.

Most bad smells in the air are caused by oils, such as the smell of fried fish or pet odors. These oils can be adsorbed into the activated carbon and removed from the air which also removes the bad smell. The oils in the air stick to it and the air ends up smelling fresh and clean.

The same principles apply in water. Particles that leave a bad taste or are dangerous in the water can be removed by adsorption using an activated carbon filter. This process is based on the rules of organic chemistry and is a highly efficient and cost-effective way to purify your water or remove unwanted odors from the air.

How Is Activated Carbon Made?

Activated carbon is made using extremely high temperatures which decreases the size of the pores in the material while increasing its surface area. This allows it to efficiently adsorb a wide range of substances from both gases, such as the air, and liquids, such as water. This makes it an ideal substance to use in the manufacture of high quality and powerful filters which are used in many aspects of modern life.

Activated carbon is extremely versatile and is used to filter many things in multiple different applications. Municipal water is partially purified using activated carbon filters and it is also used in odor removal, the control of industrial pollution, and even the production of food and beverages.

What Is An Activated Carbon Filter?

Activated carbon filters are made using specially treated carbon that is made to be more porous and has a larger surface area. The incredible fact is that a single gram of activated carbon can have a total surface area of anything between 500 to 3000 square meters! This amazing capacity means that a tiny amount of activated carbon can absorb huge quantities of contaminants and other unwanted particles.

The filter works in an organic way whereby the contaminants react chemically with the activated carbon and stick to its vast surface area. One of the most common ways to use these filters is within the home environment where they purify the air and keep it smelling fresh and hazard-free.

How Can An Activated Carbon Filter Help You?

There's a lot of different ways that an activated carbon filter can help you around the home or at your workplace. These powerful purifiers with the right carbon content can remove unwanted smells or harmful particles and contaminants from the air which may pose a risk to your health and well-being.

Activated carbon filters are often used in parallel with a HEPA Filter. Together, these combine to create a top-quality, industry-leading air purification system that will remove a wide range of harmful, dangerous, and unwanted contaminants and particles from the air.

An Air Purification System - using activated carbon filters and HEPA filters - can remove :

  • Mold spores - potentially very dangerous.
  • Lint - can cause allergies and restrict breathing.
  • Dust - can cause respiratory problems.
  • Pet hair - can cause allergies and inflame existing respiratory conditions.
  • Chemicals - many common chemicals used in household cleaning products may be harmful if you are overexposed to them.
  • Smoke - lingering smoke is a risk to long term health.
  • Benzene - harmful to human health when present in the air.

Activated carbon and HEPA filters can be used to adsorb molecules and remove all kinds of particles, oils, and unpleasant odors from the air in your home. This helps to keep the air free from harmful contaminants and smelling fresh and clean.

HEPA filters are designed to remove up to 99.9% of the particles in the air while the carbon filter serves to remove the oils, bad smells, and gases, such as smoke, from the air. When they are used in conjunction with each other you get top-quality protection and great results.

Activated Carbon Mixes and Treatments

Air purifier carbon filters are often mixed with or treated with the following to produce more effective air filtration:

Zeolite - a mineral made up of aluminum, hydrated silicon compounds, and oxygen that has a natural ability to trap toxic gases

Potassium Iodide - is a chemical compound improves the carbon's ability to adsorb gases and on the WHO list of essential medicines 

Potassium Permanganate - is a chemical compound improves the carbon's ability to adsorb formaldehyde which is found in household items such as carpet and furniture

Activated Carbon Filters - The Gold Standard In Air Purification

When it comes to keeping your home or workplace clean and free of allergens, harmful chemicals, and unpleasant odors, using an activated carbon filter in your air system is a cost-effective and reliable way to achieve the results you're looking for.

Activated carbon filters can be used in conjunction with HEPA filters to get even better results and with the combined purification powers of the two, the air in your home will be kept safe from harmful contaminants and smelling as fresh as the sea breeze!

Be sure to check the specifications of the filters and the air purification system to ensure that it is designed to do the job you need it to since there's a wide selection of options on the market to meet a range of requirements in both the home setting and the workplace.

To Learn More visit our "Best Activated Carbon With HEPA Air Purifier" collections at Think Air Purifiers Activated Carbon With HEPA Collection