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Activated Carbon: Fundamentals and New Applications

By Ken Koehlert, Cabot Corp. |

Activated carbon sorbents are important tools in water purification and air-pollution control. This article provides information on the fundamentals of this diverse sorbent and on new applications for which it is being employed Global sustainability trends are creating increased demand for purification of air and water, as well as more environmentally friendly process alternatives. Activated carbon (AC) sorbents play important roles in applications throughout the chemical process industries (CPI).These range from traditional applications, such as municipal water purification and fluegas treatment, to cutting-edge applications, such as adsorbed natural gas storage and double-layer capacitors. In this article we review the basics of activated carbon, as well as the link between activated carbon properties and adsorption performance. In addition, the article provides an overview of two emerging applications for activated carbon sorbents — biogas purification and sediment remediation. Activated carbon basics Activated carbon is a highly porous, high-surface-area adsorptive material with a largely amorphous structure. It is composed primarily of aromatic configurations of carbon atoms joined by random cross-linkages. Activated carbon…
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