Activated carbon is an amazing product. Its ability to purify and remove contaminants seems limitless. However, few people know what activated carbon really is or how it's manufactured. One of my goto articles on the subject, written by Calgon Carbon, is "Activated Carbon. What is it, How Does it Work".
Just about anything organic can be reduced to its elemental carbon. We use the term activated because the organic material must be changed or carbonized to gain necessary pour structure to make it adsorb. Carbon manufacturers who serve the potable water and waste water markets found that coal, wood, and coconut char are the most suitable for the activation process.
After the base material is selected an graded, it is sent to a huge furnace or "kiln" where it is blasted with 800 to 1000 degree heat. Through the miracle of science, and closely held cooking secrets, out pops the wonderful product known as activated carbon. Depending on the raw material used, finished carbon has a dry packed density from 27.5 to 33 pounds per cubic foot.
When purchasing activated carbon please remember quality can vary greatly. Garbage in, garbage out. Stick with a manufacturer or distributor you can trust. Also, since coal and coconut char are a commodity product, they are subject to to market supply and demand forces. Recently supply shortages have driven the price of coconut carbon up 35%.
We have also posted an information bulletin titled Activated Carbon Principals. Enlighten yourself, you'll be glad you did.