What is activated carbon?
To put it simply, it is carbon which has been processed to make it extremely porous thus increasing its surface area enabling it to adsorb pollution and other contaminants.
Because of human activity, the air we breathe and the water we use becomes contaminated. Activated carbon is one of the best tools which we can use to reduce risks to human health and provide an aesthetically pleasing product at a reasonable cost. Each pellet or granule has a very large surface area and because of this is capable of capturing airborne and waterborne impurities. The method used to capture the impurities is known as adsorption which refers to a substance adhering to the surface of a solid, whereas absorption occurs when a substance penetrates a solid. The reason that activated carbon is such an effective adsorbent material is due to its large number of cavernous pores. These provide a large surface area relative to the size of the actual carbon particle and its visible exterior surface. The sponge-like qualities of activated carbon means that a single kilo has a receptive surface area equal to between 130 and 275 acres!
Almost any carbonaceous material can be used to create activated carbon such as coconut shells, wood or coal. This is first heated in an oxygen void environment to avoid burning and to remove the volatile components of the raw materiall before being activated in a controlled environment of oxygen and steam. The result is activated carbon which can then be put to a variety of uses.
Please bear in mind that activated carbon, in whatever form, has a limited life as once the pores have reached their capacity they will then discharge rather than accept contaminants. As a general rule, no activated carbon involved in active filtration should be used longer than six months from installation.