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Activated Charcoal: The Wonder Substance

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:48 pm
by Wilberforce
Activated Charcoal: The Wonder Substance

What Is Activated Charcoal and How Does it Work? ... arcoal.htm

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Activated charcoal as a drug

Charcoal, Activated (Oral Route)/Mayo ... n/DR602267 ... cle_em.htm

Activated charcoal for air pollution

The photo below was scanned from one of my (very old) chemistry books. The flask is filled with
bromine vapor. Within several minutes, the added activated charcoal has adsorbed the vapors.

I have done this same experiment with smoke. Heavy smoke from burning paper was introduced
into a flask (containing AC) and stoppered. Within one hour, the smoke had cleared in the flask, and
within 24 hours, there was absolutely no detectable odor (of smoke) within the flask!


photo courtesy Eimer & Amend

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:25 am
by turning_blue

Can you come over and set this up at my house? Just kidding. I want to try this but haven't got a clue how to. Could you help me understand exactly what I have to do so I can use the activated charcoal in my home? The links are great!

I've read about taking charcoal orally for health benefits.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:39 pm
by Wilberforce

Thanks for the comment. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. (and you know me - I've usually
got a thousand words to write)

Just spread out a shallow layer of AC granules on a cookie sheet, or kitty-litter box. Don't leave this on the
floor, or your confused cat may leave you a little present in there! :P


PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:20 pm
by turning_blue
How long does it last? Do I throw it out and add new AC after a certain amount of time?

Thanks again!!

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:59 pm
by Wilberforce
That's a good question. I guess it pretty much depends on the amount of actual air contamination.
In an area of high contamination, the AC may only be effective for a few hours (in an enclosed space)
But in (enclosed space) areas of low concentration of pollutants, such as the typical indoors, the AC
may be effective for weeks.

This brings up an experiment which I have not tried yet. (have tried part 1, but not part 2)

1) To do the smoke-in-jar test: After filling the jar with dense, opaque smoke, and dumping in the AC,
seal the bottle, and then sniff-test the bottle after 12-24 hours. Fresh, unused AC will clear the smoke
in minutes (although some condenses out on its own) and be completely odor-free in one day.

2)Test AC which has been sitting in the room tray for one week. If the smoke odor still vanishes in the
same 12-24 hour interval, it is still working fine. But it will most likely take a longer time to act.

One note about AC, it does not function instantaneously. It requires a certain amount of time to work.
That is why it is a good idea to run an AC-charged air cleaning machine on the lowest fan speed.

If you buy a high-quality commercial air cleaner, buy one which has the capability of being recharged with
granular active charcoal. Owner recharging with AC is cheaper than buying the already-made sealed type.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:23 am
by turning_blue
Thanks Woodnyet :!:

Re: Activated Charcoal: The Wonder Substance

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:34 pm
by Wilberforce
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