A carbon filter has the ability to remove chlorine, sediments, and volatile compounds. This is made possible by its activated carbon content. The activated carbon uses chemical adsorption to remove contaminants in water and air.
The use of carbon filters is considered one of the oldest ways of purifying water. There has been historical evidence that Egyptians used carbon filters for purifying air and water even way back in 2000 B.C. Meanwhile, the earliest known use of carbon filter in the modern world was in 1862, and it was used to create potable water.
Nowadays, carbon filters are used for purifying purposes both in homes and industrial sites. The following are some applications and machines that use carbon filters:
- Point of use filters. These are used in purifying water for home use. The sizes of the carbon filters may differ according to their point of use. For example, some may be big enough for jug filters while some may be as small as those built-in filters for kettles.
- Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) System. This system is usually installed in the designated large water treatment facility of a town or a municipality. Water passes through activated carbon that looks like coffee grains. The sediments and other contaminants get trapped during the process, thereby producing clean water.
- Aquarium filters. Activated carbon filters are also used to clean aquarium water. It performs adsorption to remove impurities and odor. It also removes the organic waste in the water that is a major source of stress among fishes. It is used with a water pump and can be used on both freshwater and saltwater.
- Activated carbon air filters. Activated carbon has a positive electrical charge. This makes it suitable to attract negative charges in the air and improves its quality for breathing. It is better to use an activated carbon air filter to get rid of odor than using air fresheners. For one, air fresheners only mask the odor but do not totally remove it. Activated carbon air filters suck the odor in and produce fresh air.
- Getting rid of radiation. Just as it performs in air purifiers, carbon filters can also get rid of radiation in the atmosphere. They are used on hot cells and are used with HEPA filters. The activated carbon in the filter traps the radioactive air and keeps it there until it decays into a non-radioactive substance.
- Distilling alcoholic beverages. Activated carbon filters are used to remove sediments in vodka and whiskey to improve their odor, color and taste. However, the proper flow rate should be used in doing this process so as to ensure a similar alcohol content even in its purified form.
- Hydroponics. Since water is present in a hydroponics garden, the presence of unwanted odor is unavoidable. Carbon filters installed in an extraction fan suck in the unwanted odor in a greenhouse.
With all these products that we use everyday, waste build-up in the water and the air is inevitable. We are lucky that nature has provided us with carbon to be used in carbon filters.