Activated carbon is part of everyone’s life. The final purification of the water we drink is done with activated carbon. Activated carbon filters are also needed at wastewater processing facilities. Filters made out of activated carbon can be used to remove many contaminants, such as metals, toxic materials and chemicals from wastewater. Another main form of use is filtering air impurities. Everyday objects like vacuum cleaners, cooker hoods and indoor air filters for cars often contain activated carbon. The purer the air required, the more likely it is there is some activated carbon in the filter. The air purification in hospitals, operating rooms and even top-quality COVID-19 masks is based on activated carbon.
Industrial uses of activated carbon include the purification of gases. It is also used in the food and medical industries and even breweries and soft drink manufacturers use activated carbon to ensure that their products’ flavours are just right.
The secret of activated carbon is its enormous surface area per gram. A single gram of activated carbon can have a surface area of over 1,000 square metres. The porousness of activated carbon is adjusted during the production process in a way that allows it to separate molecules of different sizes from each other. Either harmful or useful. Simply put, activated carbon works like a sieve used for separating grains of material of different sizes.