The drinking water treatment Sand filter – natural purification of waters
Filtration with activated carbon
Activated carbon is used in many areas. This also applies to the filtration of various substances not only in the commercial sector but also at home in your own home. The main purpose of activated carbon filtration is to filter toxic chemicals from liquids or gases. Likewise, substances such as heavy metals or dust are filtered out. The use of activated carbon in filters is very diverse, read here in which areas activated carbon filters are used at all.
Activated carbon, what is it?
Activated carbon is often referred to as medicinal charcoal, as it is not only used in filters, but also in many other areas. She is well known especially in the medical field of gastrointestinal disorders. This coal is a long-grain and porous carbon which has a large internal surface area and therefore can be used as an absorbent in many fields. Thus, the activated carbon is mainly used in medicine, chemistry, air conditioning and ventilation technology, wastewater treatment and drinking water treatment and is therefore very versatile. The coal is made from mineral, petrochemical, animal and vegetable substances. So nut shell, wood, peat, various plastics or brown and hard coal can serve as a material for combustion. Animal charcoal, on the other hand, consists of bone or blood.
Applications of activated carbon in filters for the purification of air and gases
Activated carbon plays an important role in the tobacco industry, as it is mainly used in cigarette or pipe filters and also in cigarillos. The porous small pieces of coal carry the soaked smoke through a labyrinth, so that a large part of the harmful nicotine is filtered out here and gets stuck in the activated carbon. The taste of the tobacco is thereby only slightly affected. Likewise, the filtration with activated carbon also takes place in water pipes, so that the smoke loses the pollutants. Also respirators are usually equipped with activated carbon filters. So dangerous substances from smoke, gases or air do not get into the respiratory tract.
You probably also have a cooker hood in the kitchen above the stove. If this does not blow the air outside but is a circulating air unit, then the activated carbon filters the cooking odors from the soaked air before it gets back into the kitchen. In industry, the filters are also used in tank systems to contain the gasoline vapors from the exhaust air, so they do not get outside in the direct environment. And chemical companies are also using large activated carbon filters to prevent the chemical substances and their associated odors from entering the environment and the immediate vicinity.
Filtration of liquids with activated carbon
But the filters with activated carbon are not only used for air and gases, but filtration with activated carbon also plays a major role in drinking water treatment. Here they are mainly to filter out flavorings and odors from drinking water, such as humic acids, but also hydrocarbons. Since chlorine or ozone, substances that are added to the drinking water in the waterworks, are filtered out again, activated carbon can be found in many water filters for home use. So are removed from the water next to the odor and taste-disturbing substances but also bacteria, chemical liquids, sweeteners or glycerol, when they pass through the activated carbon filter. In the food industry, however, the filters are used to remove impurities or even colorants. In alcohol production, unwanted flavors from spirits such as vodka are also filtered. White rum gets its light color because it has previously flowed through an activated charcoal filter to catch the dyes.
Filtration with activated carbon in other areas
For example, room vents are equipped with activated carbon filters so that disturbing odors can be absorbed. Even deposits containing activated charcoal can absorb the unpleasant odor of sweat in shoes. In vehicles, the filters are used to prevent pollen, odors or fine dust from entering the vehicle. The filtration with activated carbon is also well known from the aquarium industry, where pollutants from fish ponds and aquaria are filtered. It also brews the perfect beer and absorbs fermentation byproducts such as esters and fusel oils from the brew. Without the filtration with activated carbon, chemical cleaning could not exist in a residential or business area, as here the chlorinated hydrocarbons from the exhaust gases and the exhaust air are filtered with activated carbon. And of course, the activated carbon filters are also used in every industrial sector to neutralize the exhaust air, such as in production plants, waste incineration plants or fuel production.
History of filtration with activated carbon
Already towards the end of the 18th century, the researchers became aware of the absorption effect of charcoal. It was found that charcoal could discolor liquids. Thus, the charcoal was first used for filtering in 1794 in a sugar factory. However, modern activated carbon production was first patented in 1901 and from then on it was also used regularly. So today in many companies, in which gases and air must be cleaned, worked with activated carbon filters. Especially in factory halls where employees are exposed to various chemical substances in the air, large filters help to purify the air.
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