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Activated Carbon

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  • gblong@xxxx.xxx
    I am looking for a source for activated carbon. I know it is available from a couple of overseas sources ,but I live in Dallas, Texas and don t want to pay for
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 18, 1999
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      I am looking for a source for activated carbon. I know it is
      available from a couple of overseas sources ,but I live in Dallas, Texas
      and don't want to pay for the freight. If anyone knows of a local source
      please let me know. Greg
    • smudge311065
      Hello all, I don t want to go on about this..... but I will. The activated in activated carbon refers to chemical ativity. It is true that activated carbon
      Message 2 of 11 , Aug 5, 2002
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        Hello all,

        I don't want to go on about this..... but I will.

        The "activated" in activated carbon refers to chemical ativity. It is
        true that activated carbon is filled with small holes, but it does
        not act in the same way as a sieve.

        It reaches the end of it's useful life when it all of its reactive
        molecules have bonded with impurities. If the pores become clogged
        with sediment, potentially reactive carbon will become inaccessible.
        In this case, washing activated carbon may extend its life if it
        unclogs the pores, but this is more relevant if you are using
        activated carbon to clarify pondwater, and not alcohol.

        If the output of you still contains sediment then you would be better
        off redistilling it, and not filtering it.

        Assuming your carbon is not clogged with sediment, then when it stops
        working its because all its molecules have done their job. The
        impurities attached to the carbon need to be removed by a chemical
        process before it can be used again.

        Rinse it all you like, but all you'll get is nice, clean, non-
        activated carbon.

        Smudge
      • Mike Nixon
        smudge311065 wrote: TSubject: [Distillers] Activated Carbon Hello all, I don t want to go on about this..... but I will. The activated in activated carbon
        Message 3 of 11 , Aug 5, 2002
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          smudge311065   wrote:
          TSubject: [Distillers] Activated Carbon

          Hello all,

          I don't want to go on about this..... but I will.

          The "activated" in activated carbon refers to chemical ativity. It is
          true that activated carbon is filled with small holes, but it does
          not act in the same way as a sieve.

          It reaches the end of it's useful life when it all of its reactive
          molecules have bonded with impurities. If the pores become clogged
          with sediment, potentially reactive carbon will become inaccessible.
          In this case, washing activated carbon may extend its life if it
          unclogs the pores, but this is more relevant if you are using
          activated carbon to clarify pondwater, and not alcohol.

          If the output of you still contains sediment then you would be better
          off redistilling it, and not filtering it.

          Assuming your carbon is not clogged with sediment, then when it stops
          working its because all its molecules have done their job. The
          impurities attached to the carbon need to be removed by a chemical
          process before it can be used again.

          Rinse it all you like, but all you'll get is nice, clean, non-
          activated carbon.

          Smudge
          ------------------------
          I'm sorry, Smudge, but you are wrong.  Adsorption is primarily an electrostatic phenomenon and chemical bonds play no part in it. The porous nature of the carbon is induced in order to increase the surface area available, a typical value often quoted (and true) is approximately one football field area per cubic centimeter of carbon.  This process of inducing porosity is what is meant by the term "activation".  Geometry also plays a part in this, enhancing the weak electrostatic attraction for certain sizes and shapes of molecules in a manner similar to that used by enzymes which have shaped "pockets".  In this manner, materials can be processed to selectively adsorb some molecules better than others, as in respirators.  Carbon that has not been treated in this way will still adsorb molecules but, for practical purposes, the effect will be insignificant if the surface area has not been increased.  Adsorbed molecules held on the surfaces both inside and outside of the carbon may be released by heat and subsequent vaporisation.  Please do not confuse rinsing new carbon to get rid of salts etc before initial use with heating after use to release adsorbed molecules. 
           
          Mike Nixon
           
        • Mike Nixon
          Grant Dunn wrote: Subject: Re: [Distillers] Activated Carbon Hi Mike, Its nice to meet somewhere who does some research and doesn t just follow the pack. We
          Message 4 of 11 , Aug 6, 2002
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            Grant Dunn wrote:
            Subject: Re: [Distillers] Activated Carbon

            Hi Mike,

            Its nice to meet somewhere who does some research and doesn't just follow the pack.

            We don't entirely disagree. From what I have read, activated carbon acts in three ways:

            Adsorption - relying on electrostatic Van der Walls forces. This attractive “force” forms relatively weak bonds between the carbon and adsorbate. In theory activated carbon could release or desorb what it removed at some point, but from practical experience desorption rarely occurs.

            Absorption - refers to the diffusion of a gas or compound into the porous network where a chemical reaction or physical entrapment take place. Ozone for example is absorbed into activated carbon where it oxidizes a portion of the carbon’s surface. Ozone (O3) is reduced to oxygen (O2) thus “detoxified”. Ozone does not accumulate or build-up in the carbon structure.

            Chemisorption - an irreversible chemical bond between the carbon surface and the adsorbate. Pollutants are tightly bound to the sorbent.

            Chemisorption is associated with the removal of inorganic chemicals and the carbon used to remove these compounds is generally not regenerated. The filtering of alcohol primarily involves the removal of organics via adsorption. After the activated carbon has reached exhaustion and all the adsorptive sites are filled, it can be regenerated.

            Where we differ is on what is required to regenerate it. While I don't have the equipment to prove it either way, everything I have read suggests that this requires temperatures above 800 degrees. I would be very interested to see any documented reports that indicate otherwise.

            The surface area of activated carbon is calculated from measuring its adsorption of nitrogen gas. This clearly demonstrates the need to keep activated carbon in an airtight container. How then does rinsing it in water affect its reactivity?  What are the impurities you are trying to remove? Do you know that rinsing removes them? Activated carbon is available in food grade so why don't you just use that?

            Regards,

            Grant
            ---------------------------------------------
            Hi Grant,

            I really didn’t want to confuse matters on the List by rabbiting on about the difference between 'physiosorption' and 'chemisorption', as the only activity we are really interested in getting clean booze. Specifically, we are interested in removing compounds that have taste or odor and which, like those that contribute color, tend to bind strongly. With these, the only bonding is by weak Van der Waals forces. There is no significant redistribution of electron density in either the molecule or at the substrate surface, and subsequent release of the molecules by heating is easy. Heating in an oven to 160 deg C is quite sufficient to clean used carbon to the extent that it can be used again, particularly when the carbon is first soaked in water to provide active flushing with steam as it boils. Of course, this will not release all the adsorbed molecules … heating to a much higher temperature in an inert atmosphere is needed to do that thoroughly … but 90+% efficiency is good enough for all practical purposes, and has been used as a cost-effective recovery process by sugar refineries ever since ‘white’ sugar was processed.

            Wet activated carbon primarily removes oxygen from air, not nitrogen. Thus, an asphyxiation hazard exists inside enclosed spaces containing wet activated carbon. Dry activated carbon requires no special precautions. Rinsing activated carbon before first use is a sensible procedure as many carbons, particularly the ‘stone’ carbons, are produced using chemical etchants which may still linger in the final product (eg. zinc chloride and phosphoric acid). Those are the impurities you want to remove before letting newly procured carbon anywhere near liquids that you are later going to drink.

            As an aside, not that it matters much, knowledge of all this was gained during my time at Farnborough where I was engaged in work relating to purification of liquid coolants. Bottom line however, for anyone wanting to check on all this, is to leave aside all ‘theory’ and the boring ravings of idjits like me, and to simply go ahead and try it. If it works for you, then wear a happy smile. If it doesn’t, then just blame me and still wear a happy smile!!

            All the best,

            Mike

          • wromgbutton
            ... follow the pack. ... attractive force forms relatively weak bonds between the carbon and adsorbate. In theory activated carbon could release or desorb
            Message 5 of 11 , Aug 6, 2002
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              --- In Distillers@y..., "Mike Nixon" <mike@s...> wrote:
              > Grant Dunn wrote:
              > Subject: Re: [Distillers] Activated Carbon
              >
              > Hi Mike,
              >
              > Its nice to meet somewhere who does some research and doesn't just
              follow the pack.
              >
              > We don't entirely disagree. From what I have read, activated carbon
              acts in three ways:
              >
              > Adsorption - relying on electrostatic Van der Walls forces. This
              attractive "force" forms relatively weak bonds between the carbon and
              adsorbate. In theory activated carbon could release or desorb what it
              removed at some point, but from practical experience desorption rarely
              occurs.
              >
              > Absorption - refers to the diffusion of a gas or compound into the
              porous network where a chemical reaction or physical entrapment take
              place. Ozone for example is absorbed into activated carbon where it
              oxidizes a portion of the carbon's surface. Ozone (O3) is reduced to
              oxygen (O2) thus "detoxified". Ozone does not accumulate or build-up
              in the carbon structure.
              >
              > Chemisorption - an irreversible chemical bond between the carbon
              surface and the adsorbate. Pollutants are tightly bound to the
              sorbent.
              >
              > Chemisorption is associated with the removal of inorganic chemicals
              and the carbon used to remove these compounds is generally not
              regenerated. The filtering of alcohol primarily involves the removal
              of organics via adsorption. After the activated carbon has reached
              exhaustion and all the adsorptive sites are filled, it can be
              regenerated.
              >
              > Where we differ is on what is required to regenerate it. While I
              don't have the equipment to prove it either way, everything I have
              read suggests that this requires temperatures above 800 degrees. I
              would be very interested to see any documented reports that indicate
              otherwise.
              >
              > The surface area of activated carbon is calculated from measuring
              its adsorption of nitrogen gas. This clearly demonstrates the need to
              keep activated carbon in an airtight container. How then does rinsing
              it in water affect its reactivity? What are the impurities you are
              trying to remove? Do you know that rinsing removes them? Activated
              carbon is available in food grade so why don't you just use that?
              >
              > Regards,
              >
              > Grant
              > ---------------------------------------------
              > Hi Grant,
              > I really didn't want to confuse matters on the List by rabbiting on
              about the difference between 'physiosorption' and 'chemisorption', as
              the only activity we are really interested in getting clean booze.
              Specifically, we are interested in removing compounds that have taste
              or odor and which, like those that contribute color, tend to bind
              strongly. With these, the only bonding is by weak Van der Waals
              forces. There is no significant redistribution of electron density in
              either the molecule or at the substrate surface, and subsequent
              release of the molecules by heating is easy. Heating in an oven to 160
              deg C is quite sufficient to clean used carbon to the extent that it
              can be used again, particularly when the carbon is first soaked in
              water to provide active flushing with steam as it boils. Of course,
              this will not release all the adsorbed molecules . heating to a much
              higher temperature in an inert atmosphere is needed to do that
              thoroughly . but 90+% efficiency is good enough for all practical
              purposes, and has been used as a cost-effective recovery process by
              sugar refineries ever since 'white' sugar was processed.
              >
              > Wet activated carbon primarily removes oxygen from air, not
              nitrogen. Thus, an asphyxiation hazard exists inside enclosed spaces
              containing wet activated carbon. Dry activated carbon requires no
              special precautions. Rinsing activated carbon before first use is a
              sensible procedure as many carbons, particularly the 'stone' carbons,
              are produced using chemical etchants which may still linger in the
              final product (eg. zinc chloride and phosphoric acid). Those are the
              impurities you want to remove before letting newly procured carbon
              anywhere near liquids that you are later going to drink.
              >
              > As an aside, not that it matters much, knowledge of all this was
              gained during my time at Farnborough where I was engaged in work
              relating to purification of liquid coolants. Bottom line however, for
              anyone wanting to check on all this, is to leave aside all 'theory'
              and the boring ravings of idjits like me, and to simply go ahead and
              try it. If it works for you, then wear a happy smile. If it doesn't,
              then just blame me and still wear a happy smile!!
              >
              > All the best,
              >
              > Mike

              I regenerate my charcoal using steam from my boiler. Have done it 5
              or 6 times now with no appreciable change to the effectiveness of the
              charcoal. I get a huge pong for about 3 hours then no smell. If the
              smell is anything to go by, I have no problem reactivating. The smell
              coming off,is just the like shit you are trying to remove from your
              distillate only concentrated...green apples spring to mind.
              No science here but if it works.....
              Edward
            • Mike Nixon
              Grant Dunn wrote: Subject: Re: [Distillers] Activated Carbon Hi again, OK, I admit it - I have no professional training in this field whatsoever. But for the
              Message 6 of 11 , Aug 6, 2002
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                Grant Dunn wrote:
                Subject: Re: [Distillers] Activated Carbon


                Hi again,

                OK, I admit it - I have no professional training in this field
                whatsoever. But for the sake of keeping the discussion going....

                Most chemicals have toxicity levels and reading their MSDS's would make
                you wonder how we survive at all. While I admit nothing is without risk
                this has to be balanced against other activities of equivalent risk we
                happily ignore.

                Phosphoric acid is an approved food additive (code 338) and is
                contained in the coke you mix your alcohol with.

                Zinc chloride has antiseptic properties and is contained in Listerine
                and other mouthwashes. Although no one recommends actually swallowing
                it (in quantities that don't cause other health issues) I think its
                safe to assume you won't die if you do.

                Overall, I'm far less happy about ingesting zinc chloride. I doubt it
                poses a greater health risk than alcohol itself (given the relative
                quantities), but there is the possibility of other zinc compounds also
                being present. I think steering clear of heavy metals is a sensible
                policy.

                In future I will seek to avoid carbon activated by this method,
                although I cheerfully acknowledge that zinc chloride is water soluble
                so rinsing would be a viable method of removing it.
                ---------------------
                Hi Grant,

                I agree with you about food additives ... but in controlled quantities.
                Arsenic used to be a great Victorian pick-me-up. Thing is, chemicals used
                to make activated carbon may be present in unknown quantities, and for the
                sake of a simple rinse, I feel happier doing that than simply trusting that
                some unknown manufacturer has got it right. It's such a simple thing to do.
                Problem is, you will have no means of telling who has made your next batch
                of carbon. I've never seen anything on the labels. It's all part of the
                great tradition of brewing and winemaking anyway ... cleanliness is next to
                spirituality!

                All the best,
                Mike
              • smudge311065
                The most difficult impurity to remove from alcohol (in my opinion, anyway) is Ethyl Acetate. It boils at about one degree (C) less than Ethyl Alcohol and has a
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 26, 2002
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                  The most difficult impurity to remove from alcohol (in my opinion,
                  anyway) is Ethyl Acetate. It boils at about one degree (C) less than
                  Ethyl Alcohol and has a a strong taste and odour.

                  I was checking to see if it was removed with activated carbon and
                  fortunately it is. The effectiveness of removal is rated "9/10 -
                  Proven use, probably the best solution.

                  Here's when it gets interesting.

                  Activated carbon is also noted for it ability to remove Ethyl Alcohol
                  with exactly the same rating. All the websites I found say the same
                  thing. (Do a web search for "ethyl acetate activated carbon removal"
                  and see what you get).

                  If carbon improves the quality of alcohol then there a number of
                  possible explanations:

                  Carbon producers are wrong and the affinity for ethyl acetate is
                  greater than the affinity for alcohol.

                  The smoothing effect results from removing both impurities and
                  alcohol, thereby increasing the water content.

                  The carbon is removing something else, or some other processes are
                  taking place.


                  Feedback?

                  Smudge
                • Bill van den Engel
                  Interesting I have found that after running our ethanol through active carbon there always seems to be a small (1.5-2.5%) drop in purity. I have always put
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 26, 2002
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                    Interesting
                    I have found that after running our ethanol through active carbon there always seems to be a small (1.5-2.5%) drop in purity.
                    I have always put this down to a cheap hydrometer but the interesting thing is that the variance is always the same.
                    The other option I had thought of was the possibility of evaporation but having an ambient temperature of 8 -13 degrees centigrade I would have thought that evaporation would be minimal at those temperatures
                     
                     
                    regards Bill
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    Sent: Friday, September 27, 2002 12:17 PM
                    Subject: [Distillers] Activated Carbon

                    The most difficult impurity to remove from alcohol (in my opinion,
                    anyway) is Ethyl Acetate. It boils at about one degree (C) less than
                    Ethyl Alcohol and has a a strong taste and odour.

                    I was checking to see if it was removed with activated carbon and
                    fortunately it is. The effectiveness of removal is rated "9/10 -
                    Proven use, probably the best solution.

                    Here's when it gets interesting.

                    Activated carbon is also noted for it ability to remove Ethyl Alcohol
                    with exactly the same rating. All the websites I found say the same
                    thing. (Do a web search for "ethyl acetate activated carbon removal"
                    and see what you get).

                    If carbon improves the quality of alcohol then there a number of
                    possible explanations:

                    Carbon producers are wrong and the affinity for ethyl acetate is
                    greater than the affinity for alcohol.

                    The smoothing effect results from removing both impurities and
                    alcohol, thereby increasing the water content.

                    The carbon is removing something else, or some other processes are
                    taking place.


                    Feedback?

                    Smudge





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                  • Mike Nixon
                    Smudge wrote: Subject: [Distillers] Activated Carbon The most difficult impurity to remove from alcohol (in my opinion, anyway) is Ethyl Acetate. It boils at
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 26, 2002
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                      Smudge wrote:
                      Subject: [Distillers] Activated Carbon

                      The most difficult impurity to remove from alcohol (in my opinion, anyway) is Ethyl Acetate. It boils at about one degree (C) less than Ethyl Alcohol and has a a strong taste and odour.

                      I was checking to see if it was removed with activated carbon and fortunately it is. The effectiveness of removal is rated "9/10 
                      Proven use, probably the best solution.

                      Here's when it gets interesting.

                      Activated carbon is also noted for it ability to remove Ethyl Alcohol with exactly the same rating. All the websites I found say the same thing. (Do a web search for "ethyl acetate activated carbon removal" and see what you get).

                      If carbon improves the quality of alcohol then there a number of possible explanations:

                      Carbon producers are wrong and the affinity for ethyl acetate is greater than the affinity for alcohol.

                      The smoothing effect results from removing both impurities and alcohol, thereby increasing the water content.

                      The carbon is removing something else, or some other processes are taking place.
                      ==================================================
                      Bill wrote:
                      I have found that after running our ethanol through active carbon there always seems to be a small (1.5-2.5%) drop in purity.
                      I have always put this down to a cheap hydrometer but the interesting thing is that the variance is always the same.
                      The other option I had thought of was the possibility of evaporation but having an ambient temperature of 8 -13 degrees centigrade I would have thought that evaporation would be minimal at those temperatures
                      ==================================================
                      Hi Smudge ... Bill,
                       
                      All absolutely right!  The carbon will latch onto ethanol just as easily as it does to ethyl acetate.  However, the shape and size of the internal crevices in the carbon play a big role, and ethanol will be held most firmly in some regions, and other sized molecules like ethyl acetate will be held most firmly in others.  Let's just assume, for the sake of discussion, that 50% of the carbon holds ethanol best, and 50% holds ethyl acetate best.  As there is far more ethanol in the liquid we are cleaning than ethyl acetate, we can reasonably infer that the half of the carbon that holds ethanol best is going to get saturated fairly quickly. Once the ethyl acetate molecules have a chance to have a go (they are more spread around so it will take longer) then they will saturate the other half of the carbon.  End result is that the carbon holds half ethanol and half ethyl acetate. 
                       
                      So, if we suppose that a "full load" for all the carbon we use is 2N ml (both ethanol and ethyl acetate) then it will have removed N ml of each.  If we also suppose that we are cleaning a liquid that starts out with 99% ethanol and 1% ethyl acetate (relative proportions), then N ml will make a far bigger dent in the small ethyl acetate population than in the huge ethanol population.  Net result is that you can remove most of the ethyl acetate for the price of the same amount of ethanol, which is insignificant in that much larger population of ethanol.  This is the price that Bill has noticed (and I think he means "ABV strength" rather than "purity" ... yes?). 
                       
                      By the way ... a mix with ethyl acetate in it will read almost the same as a pure mix with only ethanol, so what Bill has noticed is the effect of removal of both ... the full 2N ml.
                       
                      Mike Nixon
                       
                       
                       
                    • johnsmith24668
                      I imagine this has been covered, but I can t seem to figure out how to search with the new yahoo format. I m pot-stilling, and trying to make a neutral by
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 10, 2014
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                        I imagine this has been covered, but I can't seem to figure out how to search with the "new" yahoo format.

                        I'm pot-stilling, and trying to make a neutral by triple distilling about half feints (Pugi-rum and UJSSM), half MUM wash. My ultimate goal is to make gin through home-made concentrates, and maybe some apple pie and/or strawberry panty dropper.

                        I know that there are those who argue with good cuts carbon polishing isn't necessary. I'm not looking to set up the whole funnel and 3m column rig, and was interested in just steeping the carbon in the spirit. I can't find a lot of details about this method, though (maybe because it's not viable?).

                        If I wanted to give the soaking method a go...

                        1) How much carbon to how much spirit?
                        2) What alcohol concentration? (I've seen as high as 90%, but also that greater than 50% defeats the purpose as the alcohol can leach back out the nasties)
                        3) How long?
                        4) How do you prep the carbon?
                        5) Anything else?

                        Thanks in advance for the help!



                      • Ken Mc
                        Go to this link to my files on New Distillers and access the “Z” filter file also the “operating a reflux still” as well should give you all the info
                        Message 11 of 11 , May 11, 2014
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                          Go to this link to my files on New Distillers and access the “Z” filter file also the “operating a reflux still” as well should give you all the info ON CARBON FILTERING

                          https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/new_distillers/files/Ken%20Mc./

                           

                           Ken Mc

                          Moderator :  Y! new_distillers    Y! Distillers

                           

                          From: Distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Distillers@yahoogroups.com]
                          Sent: Sunday, 11 May 2014 10:20 a.m.
                          To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [Distillers] Activated Carbon

                           

                           

                          I imagine this has been covered, but I can't seem to figure out how to search with the "new" yahoo format.

                          I'm pot-stilling, and trying to make a neutral by triple distilling about half feints (Pugi-rum and UJSSM), half MUM wash. My ultimate goal is to make gin through home-made concentrates, and maybe some apple pie and/or strawberry panty dropper.

                          I know that there are those who argue with good cuts carbon polishing isn't necessary. I'm not looking to set up the whole funnel and 3m column rig, and was interested in just steeping the carbon in the spirit. I can't find a lot of details about this method, though (maybe because it's not viable?).

                          If I wanted to give the soaking method a go...

                          1) How much carbon to how much spirit?
                          2) What alcohol concentration? (I've seen as high as 90%, but also that greater than 50% defeats the purpose as the alcohol can leach back out the nasties)
                          3) How long?
                          4) How do you prep the carbon?
                          5) Anything else?

                          Thanks in advance for the help!

                           

                           

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