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What is the activated carbon found in our water filters?

by Γιάννης Μπουζάνας
What is the activated carbon found in our water filters?

Activated carbon has various applications, from gas masks and kitchen appliances to drugs and poisons. Its main use though is water purification, as it has spectacular absorbing and filtering capabilities.

Activated carbon, either in the form of granular, i.e. pulverized activated carbon or activated carbon block, filters water from a wide list of harmful substances. Activated carbon achieves impressive success rates, filtering out chemicals.

It is an odorless, tasteless, delicate substance that is a 100% natural product. This non-toxic black powder is made from bamboo, charcoal, sawdust, coconut shell, olive kernel and oil. Activated carbon is heated in a controlled environment using special methods. Through this proccess it acquires a very porous surface, which is capable of increasing its area from 500 to 1,500 m2 / g, and absorbing various kinds of organisms.

The use of carbon in everyday life goes back thousands of years, although its discovery is uncertain. Ancient Indians used carbon to clean their water, while the Egyptians used to detoxigy their body with carbon before 1500 BC. Ancient Greek Hippocrates (Father of Medicine) included carbon in his medical treatments.

Carbon was made known thanks to the French chemist Pierre Fleurus Touery. In 1831 he made a demonstration at the French Medical Academy, which left an impression: He consumed 10 times more strychnine than the allowed limit if front of many peiple. And yet, nothing happened to Touery. That's because, before Strychnine, he drank - as he explained to his bereaved colleagues - about 15 grams of carbon!


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George Margiolos

George Margiolos was born in Thessaloniki and has graduated from the Department of Marketing of the Alexandreio Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki. He is fluent in English and (not so fluent) in German.

Ηe has been Project Manager at Avery Dennison - Fastener Division in the UK. There, his main project was to redesign the company's products into new applications so as to become more environmentally friendly. In combination with the fact that in the UK people are more familiar with water filters, he has developed a love for environmentally friendly water filters, which reduce the use of plastic bottles and improving people's quality of life.

Since 2008, he has published over 300 unique educational and informative articles on water filters and new water treatment technologies.

Occasionally, universities and doctoral students request to use George Margiolos' articles in their research because of their quality and uniqueness.