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What is activated carbon?
Active carbon is porous carbon that traps compounds, mainly organic, present in a gas or liquid. It does so with such effectiveness that it is the most widely used purifier by humans.
Organic compounds are derived from the metabolism of living beings, and their basic structure consists of chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Among them are all the derivatives of the vegetable and animal world, including oil and the compounds obtained from it.
The property of a solid to adhere a flowing molecule to its walls is called "adsorption". The solid is called "adsorbent" and the molecule, "adsorbate."
After filtration - which is intended to retain solids present in a fluid - there is no single purification process with more applications than activated carbon. They are between them:
- Water purification (charcoal retains pesticides, fats, oils, detergents, disinfection by-products, toxins, compounds that produce color, compounds caused by the decomposition of algae and vegetables or by the metabolism of animals…).
- Deodorization and air purification (for example, in cartridge respirators, air recirculation systems in public spaces, drain vents and water treatment plants, paint application booths, spaces that store or apply organic solvents ...)
- Treatment of people with acute poisoning (activated charcoal is considered the "most universal antidote", and is applied in emergency rooms and hospitals).
- Sugar refining (coal retains the proteins that give the cane juice its color; the main objective of this process is to prevent the sugar from fermenting and spoiling).
- Discoloration of vegetable oils (such as coconut), corn glucose and other liquids intended for food.
- Discoloration and deodorization of alcoholic beverages (such as grape wines and distillates of any origin).
- Gold recovery (gold that cannot be separated from minerals by flotation processes, is dissolved in sodium cyanide and adsorbed on activated carbon).