Most organic and inorganic compounds will readily attach to carbon atoms. The strength of that attachment— and the energy for subsequent desorption—depends on the bond formed, which in turn depends on the specific compound being adsorbed. Carbon used for adsorption is treated to produce a high surface-to-volume ratio (900 : 1,300 sq.m/g), exposing a practical maximum number of carbon atoms for active adsorbtion. This treated carbon is said to be activated for adsorption. When acti vated carbon has adsorbed so much contaminant that its adsorptive capacity is severely depleted, it is said to be spent. Spent carbon can be regenerated, but for strongly adsorbed contaminants, the cost of such regeneration is higher than simple replacement with new carbon.
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