Carbon is the most adsorbent material known to man and has been used to purify air and water for thousands of years. In fact, the use of carbon dates so far back into history that its exact origin has been impossible to document.
Historians do know that as far back as 1500 BC the ancient Egyptians were using carbon to adsorb odors from festering wounds and from within the intestinal tract or to purify their water and that carbon filters were used for ventilating vapors and gases from 17th century London sewers.
However it was the 20th century that saw the development of specially ‘activated’ granular carbon, like that used in air scrubbers | air filtration systems | air purifiers. With the introduction of poisonous gases during WW I, the military developed large scale production methods for adsorbent carbons suitable for use in gas-masks, which has led to a post-war expansion in commercial production and applications of this amazingly versatile substance.
When gases, chemicals and odors pass through a filter packed with activated carbon these substances get permanently trapped in the million of pores opened by the activation process. Due to the large internal surface area of activated carbons it can actually adsorb up to 60% of its weight. Good carbon filters, depending on the environment in which they are used, can last up to 5 years before all of the pores are full.
- What it does and how it works.
Activated carbon is carbon that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms. There are so many of these that one pound has a surface area of 60 to 150 acres
- The technology used in military gas masks.
Activated carbon is the substance that keeps military personnel safe from poisonous gasses. It is also used for water filtration.
- Adsorption (Adsorb)
Adsorption is the process where certain chemicals are attracted to activated carbon and then bond to it. The millions of pores provide enormous surface area to trap these chemicals. Indeed, activated carbon / charcoal air filtration is a recommended adsorbent for chemical fumes ,gases, and odors.