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What is Activated Carbon Used For?



Sep. 17, 2022
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Activated carbon is used for a variety of other applications. It can recover valuable solvents and materials from various fluids, remove odors, and alter flavors in gases and liquids. It also has medical uses and can help treat patients who have ingested poisons or overdosed on ingested narcotics. Activated carbon also finds use in the cleanup of certain hazardous spills. The following sections explore these different applications of activated carbon in a variety of markets.


What is Activated Carbon Used For?

Coconut Shell Activated Carbon used for Sulfur Removal


Environmental & Agricultural Applications

Activated carbon (specifically impregnated carbon) is used to remove air and water pollutants such as those found in chemical spills, groundwater, drinking water, air, volatile organic compound (VOC) factories, and other sources of pollution. Activated carbon is also employed to measure radon concentration in air. Impregnated carbon infused with sulfur and/or iodine is widely implemented in coal power plants, medical incinerators, and methane wellheads to trap mercury emissions (though, mercury-laden carbon poses a disposal problem of its own). In agricultural environments, activated charcoal is a pesticide, an animal feed additive, a processing aid, a disinfectant, and a fertilizer.


Medical Applications

As previously stated, polymer-coated carbon is used in hemoperfusion to cleanse blood of unwanted toxic substances; however, activated carbon can also be ingested in tablet form to treat poisoning and overdoses. Activated charcoal is also an OTC drug for gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea, though there is little scientific evidence to suggests its effectiveness in this role. The WHO’s list of Essential Medicines deems activated charcoal one of the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system, and it is a necessary part of ambulatory load-outs, mobile med kits, and more as a result.


Industrial & Chemical Applications

Yihang Activated carbon is used in industrial applications to remove organic impurities from bright nickel-plating solutions, as well as to purify and extract precious metals such as gold. When electroplating, operators add a variety of organic materials to plating solutions to improve specific metal properties, but these compounds can break down into unwanted side-products when exposed to electrical current. Activated carbon is added to remove these impurities and to restore plating solutions to their optimal efficiencies. In analytical chemistry, activated carbon is used to measure specific levels of compounds in solutions as well as extract certain media from substrates. It is also used to filter and purify certain chemical samples, either as regular activated carbon or as impregnated carbon for specific contaminants.



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