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Activated Carbon—Powdered

Water Quality Control

  1. Absar A. Kazmi

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.wq6

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Kazmi, A. A. 2005. Activated Carbon—Powdered. Water Encyclopedia. 2:86–88.

Author Information

  1. Nishihara Environment Technology, Tokyo, Japan

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


The most commonly used adsorbent in water and wastewater treatment is activated carbon. Activated carbon is manufactured from carbonaceous material such as wood, coal, or petroleum residues. A char is made by burning the material in the absence of air. The char is oxidized at higher temperatures to create a very porous structure. The “activation” steps provide irregular channels and pores in the solid mass, resulting in a very large surface-area-per-mass ratio. Surface areas ranging from 500 to 1500 m2/g have been reported, and all but a small surface area is in the pores. Once formed, activated carbon is pulverized to a very fine powder (Fig. 1). The size is predominantly less than 0.075 mm (200 sieve). Dissolved organic material adsorbs to both exterior and interior surfaces of the carbon.


  • adsorption;
  • adsorbent;
  • char;
  • refractory organics;
  • water treatment