Deutsch: Aktivkohle / Español: Carbón Activado / Português: Carvão Ativado / Français: Charbon Actif / Italiano: Carbone Attivo /

An Activated Carbon is a highly adsorbent form of carbon used to remove odors and toxic substances from liquid or gaseous emissions. In waste treatment, it is used to remove dissolved organic matter from waste drinking water. It is also used in motor vehicle evaporative control systems.


Activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal, is a highly porous form of carbon that is created by heating carbon-rich materials, such as coconut shells or wood, to high temperatures. This process removes impurities and creates a large surface area of microscopic pores, which helps the activated carbon to effectively trap and remove various pollutants and contaminants from the environment.
In the context of the environment, activated carbon is widely used in water and air purification systems. It is known for its ability to adsorb a wide range of organic compounds, chemicals, and heavy metals, making it a versatile tool for improving water and air quality. In water treatment, activated carbon is often used to remove contaminants like chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
Activated carbon is also used in air filtration systems to trap harmful pollutants like volatile organic compounds, odors, and gases. It is commonly found in air purifiers, respirators, and industrial air scrubbers. Additionally, activated carbon plays a crucial role in reducing indoor air pollution in homes, offices, and industrial settings.
In addition to water and air purification, activated carbon is used in soil remediation to remove pollutants and contaminants from contaminated soils. It can help to detoxify soil by adsorbing harmful chemicals and heavy metals, making it safer for plant growth and human health. This application is particularly important in areas where soil contamination poses a risk to ecosystems and human populations.
Overall, activated carbon is a valuable tool for environmental protection and remediation due to its high adsorption capacity and versatility in removing various pollutants from water, air, and soil. Its use in filtration systems, purification processes, and remediation projects helps to improve environmental quality, protect human health, and sustain ecosystems for future generations.

Application Areas

  • Water Treatment: Used to remove impurities and contaminants from water by adsorbing chemicals and organic compounds.
  • Air Filtration: Utilized in air purifiers and masks to adsorb and trap pollutants and odors.
  • Soil Remediation: Helps to clean up contaminated soil by adsorbing and trapping harmful substances.
  • Odor Control: Used in air fresheners and filters to eliminate bad smells by adsorbing volatile organic compounds.
  • Gas Purification: Removes impurities from gases through adsorption processes, making them suitable for industrial use.

Well-Known Examples

  • Water filtration: removing impurities and contaminants from water through adsorption.
  • Air purification: capturing and eliminating odors, gases, and pollutants from the air.
  • Soil remediation: absorbing and neutralizing toxic chemicals and heavy metals in soil.
  • Waste water treatment: filtering out organic compounds and improving water quality.
  • Environmental spill clean-up: absorbing and containing hazardous materials in case of accidents or leaks.

Treatment and Risks

  • Physical separation: Activated carbon can be physically separated from the environment by filtration or sedimentation processes.
  • Chemical treatment: Chemical treatment involves the use of additives or reactants to either break down or enhance the effectiveness of activated carbon in removing contaminants.
  • Biological degradation: Some microorganisms have the capability to degrade activated carbon, which can result in its breakdown over time.
  • Health risks: Exposure to high concentrations of activated carbon dust or particles can lead to respiratory issues or allergic reactions.
  • Environmental risks: If activated carbon is not properly disposed of, it can accumulate in the environment and disrupt ecosystems or harm wildlife.
  • Contaminant leaching: In some cases, contaminants absorbed by activated carbon can be released back into the environment, potentially leading to further pollution.

Similar Terms

  • Activated Charcoal: Charcoal that has been treated to increase its adsorption capacity.
  • Activated Char: A porous substance made by burning carbon-containing material at high temperatures.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: A device that uses activated carbon to remove impurities from water or air.
  • Granular Activated Carbon: Activated carbon in a granular form used for filtering water and air.
  • Powdered Activated Carbon: Finely ground activated carbon used in various environmental applications.

Examples of Sentences

  • Activated Carbon is commonly used in water filtration systems.
  • Many companies sell activated carbons for environmental remediation purposes.
  • The effectiveness of the activated carbon's adsorption properties depends on its surface area.
  • Have you considered activating carbon to purify the air in your home?



Activated carbon is a commonly used material in environmental applications due to its high surface area, porosity, and ability to adsorb contaminants. It is utilized in wastewater treatment to remove pollutants such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals. Additionally, activated carbon is employed in air purification systems to capture volatile organic compounds and odors. Its versatility makes it a valuable tool in improving the quality of both air and water in various environmental settings.


Related Articles

Roaster at■■■■■■■■■
In industrial settings, a roaster is a specialized piece of equipment used for the thermal treatment . . . Read More
Vapor ■■■■■■■■
In the environmental context, 'vapor' refers to the gaseous form of a substance that is typically in . . . Read More
Collection at■■■■■■■■
Collection pertains to an artificial accumulation of materials devoted to a single theme, person, event, . . . Read More
Fixation ■■■■■■■
Fixation in the environmental context refers to the process by which a substance is captured and converted . . . Read More
Coal ■■■■■■■
A Coal is a black or brownish black solid, combustible substance formed by the partial Decomposition . . . Read More
Activator ■■■■■■■
An activator is a substance that is used to increase the rate or efficiency of a chemical reaction. E. . . . Read More
Impurity ■■■■■■■
In the environmental context, "impurity" refers to any substance that is undesired or harmful within . . . Read More
Acid ■■■■■■■
An Acid is a Corrosive solution with a pH less than 7. DescriptionAcid in the environment refers to the . . . Read More
Hurricane ■■■■■■■
Hurricane refers to a powerful tropical cyclone that forms over warm ocean waters and is characterized . . . Read More
Filtration at■■■■■■■
Filtration in the context of quality management refers to the process or technique used to separate unwanted . . . Read More