Activated Charcoal: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dosage, Warnings?


ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dosage, Warnings?
Activated carbon , short A-Carbon , also medicinal charcoal is called, porous, fine-grained carbon with a large internal surface area , as the adsorbent among others in chemistry , medicine , water and wastewater treatment and ventilation - and air-technique is used. It comes granulated or compressed into tablets (Kohlekompretten) used. Likewise, activated carbon is used as a carrier material of catalysts for heterogeneous catalysis .

Contents [ Hide ]
1 properties
2 extraction
3 Applications
3.1 cleaning of liquids and gases
3.2 Thermal Reactivation
3.3 Medical Application
3.4 The use as supports for catalysts
3.5 food coloring
3.6 charcoal warmers
4 External links
5 Literature
6 Notes and references
Properties [ Edit ]
Activated carbon consists mainly of carbon (usually> 90%) with highly porous structure. The pores are like a sponge interconnected (open pore). The internal surface area from 300 to 2000 m² / g coal, thus corresponds to the inner surface of four grams of activated carbon about the size of a football field. The density of activated charcoal is in the range of 0.2 to 0.6 g / cc.

The pore size and the pore size distribution is divided into three orders of magnitude below: micropores (<2 nm), mesopores (also called transitional pores, 2-50 nm) and macropores (> 50 nm). [1]

The macropores are the main access routes for gases or liquids into the interior of the coals and have handy for the adsorption of no significant importance. The majority of the adsorption takes place on the carbon material on the surface of the micropores. This area is the effective surface area and determines the adsorption properties of coal. The size of the inner surface relative to the volume of an activated carbon shown in the following data. In a cube having an edge length of 1 cm, the inner surface of the outer exceeds by more than a factor 10,000.

Basically, the adsorbability of a compound increases with

increasing molecular weight
increasing number of functional groups such as double bonds or halogen ligands
increasing the polarizability of the molecule. [2]
Extraction [ Edit ]
Activated carbon from plant, animal, mineral or petrochemical substances produced. As starting materials serve wood , peat , nut shells, brown - coal or various plastics . Accordingly it is also called a biochar. As animal charcoal , lat . carbo animalis , activated carbon is referred to from animal blood (blood charcoal) or bones (bone char) is produced. With sugar charcoal activated carbon is known that from glucose or another sugar as a raw product. [3]

For the production and activation of two methods are applicable as follows: [4]

the gas activation and
the chemical activation
In the gas activation char been treated in an oxidizing gas stream such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, air or mixtures of these gases. As this takes place at temperatures of 800-1000 ° C, a part of the carbon is after the water-gas process gasified. Here, the porous and highly active charcoal forms.

In the manufacture of chemical activation , a mixture of starting material unverkohltem chemicals being treated. This is generally done through the use of dehydrating agents (eg. example, zinc chloride , phosphoric acid ) at 500-900 ° C or by dry distillation . The Rohaktivkohle thus obtained is then oxidatively with steam or carbon dioxide, partly with air activated at 700-1000 ° C. [5] In this activation is a part of the carbon in carbon monoxide converted, thereby creating additional pores are formed and increases the surface area of the coal is [6] .

For some applications, the activated carbon is treated with additional chemicals (impregnated) in order to improve the separation effect. Coal filter for respiratory filters in gas masks is covered with metal salts, which improves the separation efficiency for many chemical toxins. Activated carbon having a silver coverage is particularly well suited for filtering drinking water. Microbial contamination of the filter during operation is substantially suppressed by the silver.

Applications [ Edit ]

Activated carbon
Purification of liquids and gases [ Edit ]
Activated carbon is used primarily as an adsorbent for removing unwanted color, taste and odor compounds from gases, vapors and liquids. A great advantage of activated carbon is its thermal reactivation. A biological reactivation is inserted at the wastewater treatment activated carbon also possible. [7]

Mainly finds use activated carbon in the form of granules, powder or pellet form. Also tissue of activated carbon are available on the market.

With activated carbon are removed, for example:

Chlorine , ozone and other substances that impair taste and odor and bacteria from water, sweeteners, glycerin and chemical liquids
colorants and impurities from liquid streams in the chemical or food industry
Toxins from the air (filters in respirators , ventilation systems of tanks and shelters, exhaust in production)
Uranium hexafluoride from the air in the core technology (fuel fabrication)
Gasoline fumes from the exhaust of tanks
Chlorinated hydrocarbons from exhaust air and exhaust gases for. example in chemical cleanings
Tar from cigarette smoke in cigarette filters
undesirable flavors of vodka and other spirits
unwanted colors from white rum and other spirits
Odor in shoes (by active carbonaceous deposits)
Fermentation by-products such as fusel oils and esters of beer
Pollutants in aquarium and pond filters
disturbing odors from the exhaust air from room ventilation
in the supply air vehicles fine dust , pollen and odors (see cabin air filter )
In the wastewater treatment activated carbons to adsorb adsorbable dissolved wastewater constituents from the water. This step is usually only used when less expensive methods such as biological processes, precipitation and flocculation does not lead to the goal. This method can also be used for the purification of sub-streams in the industry, wherein the target to be monitored, to recover residues. Wastewater from textile dyeing contain dyes that can often be removed only by adsorption with activated carbon. This can be performed efficiently with biologically regenerated activated carbon. [7]

Another important application for activated carbon is in the cabin air filters for the automotive industry. Since the mid-1990s, this filter class is in air conditioning systems used. The so-called combi-filter (which is a specific cabin air filter class) include a layer of activated carbon, which filtered out harmful gases from the air, thus protecting the passengers against these pollutants. More than 5000 tons of charcoal annually for this application worldwide processed.

In the air routes of nuclear power plants activated carbon filters are used as delay lines for short-lived radioactive noble gases used. The noble gases through - due to temporary adsorption - the filter sections significantly slower than the rest of the exhaust. By the radioactive decay while the amount of the radioactive inert gases in the exhaust air is significantly reduced.

The water treatment also uses the adsorption on activated carbon for purification of raw water.

Due to their high adsorption capacity , activated carbon can also in sorption to generate vacuums use.

Activated carbon has only a limited loading capacity. Regeneration is usually by heating to several hundred degrees Celsius. On the one hand a portion of the vaporized charge (e.g.. For example, organic solvents), but another part can coke, then the activated carbon must be re-activated with water vapor as in the preparation.

Thermal reactivation [ Edit ]
Saturated activated carbon can using a heat process at high temperatures (up to 900 ° C), for example, in rotary kilns are reactivated or Mehretagenöfen. [8] Due to the most modern and intensive flue gas cleaning can be recycled saturated activated carbon from different applications.

The complete reactivation process consists of the following steps:

Drying of the material up to + 105 ° C.
Evaporation of volatile components adsorbed to + 300 ° C.
Decomposing the adsorbed non-volatile components into smaller molecules up to + 600 ° C, in the furnace atmosphere by pyrolysis to amorphous carbon are reduced on the inner surface.
Gasification of amorphous carbon by means of steam above 800 ° C.
By the reaction of the amorphous carbon with water vapor at high temperatures to form carbon monoxide (CO), and finally to carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) to create micro-pores which form a large specific surface area.

\ Mathrm {C \ + \ H2O \ \ longrightarrow \ H2 \ + \ CO}
The efficient use of natural resources by reducing the reactivation is CO 2 emissions to the factor reaches 5.

Medical applications [ Edit ]
In medicine, activated carbon is used primarily for toxins to be removed from the gastrointestinal tract. In harmless diarrhea, z. B. gastrointestinal flu ( gastroenteritis ), usually coal comprettes used. For poisoning emergencies activated carbon is used in large quantities to orally absorbed toxins in the digestive tract are or enterohepatic circulation are subject to be removed from the organism. In such cases, the dosage is 0.5 to 1 g of carbon per kg body weight for an adult human.

Use as a support for catalysts [ Edit ]
In the chemical catalysts are used on the basis of active coal. The activated carbon serves as a carrier of transition metals, for example palladium , platinum or rhodium . A typical use of these catalysts is the catalytic hydrogenation .

Food coloring [ Edit ]
Activated carbon is used in the food industry as a colorant used in E 153. E 153 comes in fruit juice concentrates, jellies, jams, confectionery and in black wax coatings for cheese to use.

Charcoal warmers [ Edit ]
Activated carbon is also used in heat bags before.

As activated carbon filters are filters called, the activated carbon contained. Such filters are used both for the treatment and purification of gases as well as liquids. Purpose is the removal of interfering substances, such as dust , heavy metals and undesirable or toxic chemicals in part from gases or liquids.

Contents [ Hide ]
1 Mode of action
2 Application Areas
3 Notes and references
4 External links
Action [ Edit ]
With the use of activated carbon in a filter allows different treatment objectives. On the one hand unresolved usual mechanical particles are filtered off as filters. For more information on this feature filter (fluid power) led.

Since as described in the activated carbon described above, all activated carbons have a very large internal surface area, the removal of dissolved particles on the other hand, an adsorption possible. Furthermore, the carbon reacts as a reducing agent and for the removal of oxidizing agents such as ozone and chlorine from exhaust air or suitable water and waste water.

In filtering and adsorbing the substances to be removed are absorbed and concentrated in the carbon composition of the active carbon. In contrast, carbon is in part to the reduction in carbon dioxide oxidizes and thus consumed . The activated carbon reduces the amount and needs to be refilled occasionally. The equation for the removal of ozone is:

\ Mathrm {2 \ O3 + C \ longrightarrow \ 2 \ O2 + CO_2}
However, activated carbon, for example, via catalytic reactions for the reduction and elimination of chloramines are used. This is referred to in the literature the following mechanism: [1]

\ Mathrm {\ C + + NH2Cl H2O \ longrightarrow \ NH3 + HCl + CO}
\ Mathrm {\ CO + 2 \ NH
2Cl \ longrightarrow \ C + 2 \ HCl + N2 + H2O}
By filtering captured solids increase the filter resistance and must be removed with regular backwashing of the filter bed.

Recorded by adsorption substances accumulate in the coal. Depending on the activated carbon type, and the nature of the adsorbed substances are accumulations of 10 to about 20 weight percent are possible before there is a breakthrough. [2] exhausted activated carbon is replaced. The loaded materials are disposed of or can thermally be reactivated for further use.

Application areas [ Edit ]
In industrial activated carbon filters are used to clean the air, to reduce the burden on workers.

Filter with the filter medium of activated carbon are commonly used in the technical water treatment. For the treatment of surface water with impurities such as humic acids or lignin sulfonic acids , for example, these are the ion exchangers upstream. The activated carbon adsorbs the impurities that are otherwise the ion exchange resins in the subsequent filtering by fouling would damage. Also activated carbon filters are used for the adsorption of traces of oil in operating condensates in the industry.

1 = untreated, 2 = pure water, 3 = container, 4 = entry rinse water, 5 = flushing water, 6 = retraction line, 7 = nozzle with nozzle bottom, 8 = gravel / support layers, 9 = activated carbon, 10 = purge funnel, 11 = Exhaust
The sketch shows a simplified representation of an activated carbon filter for granular activated carbon with the usual leads for the treatment of contaminated water. In the drinking water - and waste water treatment , they are usually for adsorptive retention of flavors and fragrances and harmful organic substances such as halogenated hydrocarbons and pesticides [3] used.

Activated carbon can also be used as an aqueous suspension of powder coal, dosed to the raw water before a filter system or as part of Anschwemmmittels for precoat . Another option is a layer of granular activated carbon, which rests on the gravel or another filter material. In the latter case, such filters are stacked bed filter called.

In larger plants with granular activated carbon, it is useful for economic reasons, again thermally recycle after depletion or loading the activated carbon for re-use.

Most respirators filters are also filled with activated carbon.

In devices for residential ventilation may be a charcoal filter used to remove fine dust from the fresh air.

For cooker hoods activated carbon filters are in recirculation mode available for filtering the odors. However, there is the problem that the fat glued the pores of the coal.

In the hunting of the activated carbon filter is used to short-term pollutants or drugs remains to filter out of the water.

In hard disks, these filters are used as dust backing to the interior of the disk for the same pressure to ensure as outside, without dust or other debris damaged the rotating disks.

Pipe filters with activated carbon (diameter: 9 mm)
As pipe filters , in some cigarillos and cigarettes filters , activated carbon is used. Through the porous carbon pieces of the smoke is guided through a labyrinth as in principle, whereby a large part of the harmful substances such as nicotine remaining in the filter; easily affect the flavor of tobacco.

The industrial activated carbon filters are also the planting of banned substances, such as the Indoor Growing for the production of marijuana use to alleviate the smell of flowering cannabis plants and around them to provide a continuous fresh air.

Also used activated carbon filters in the ventilation systems of cars. The Mercedes-Benz "W140" had one as an option to protect against unpleasant odors.

Medical charcoal or activated coal is a plant-derived carbon, with a high capacity, substances and toxins to bind to and neutralize it. Activated carbon is used to treat poisoning. Coal is also a traditional remedy for the treatment of diarrhea - whether it is capable of being controversial.
synonym: Carbo activatus PhEur (= Medical coal Ph Eur ), Carbo medicinalis , Carbo of adsorbents , absorbent carbon , E 153


Activated carbon is in the form of tablets and capsules in the trade. End of February 2011, an oral suspension was approved as an antidote (Carbovit®) in Switzerland.


Medical coal is obtained from plant materials by suitable carbonization process, which the substance is a high adsorption give ( Ph Eur ).


Carbo of adsorbents granulatus PH 5
Carbon suspension 0:15 g / ml KSA - as an antidote

Medical coal ( ATC A07BA01 Externer Link ) is adsorbing . As an antidote, it prevents the absorption of toxins.


0:15 g / ml KSA carbon suspension: take 5-10 ml per kilogram of body weight orally, possibly repeated after 4 hours, as an antidote.. For a man of 80 kg therefore needed as a single dose 800 ml.

Indications and usage

In poisoning as antidote
Diarrhea , bloating and flatulence
For decolorization of solvents
In the filter of protective masks
For the production of black powder
Blackening of licorice

None known to date.


Other drugs should not be at the same time, but taken with an interval of 2-3 hours, as this can lead to a weakening of the effect otherwise.

Adverse effects

Harmless blackening of the chair.

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asked Aug 13, 2014 by Lancomega Level (10,245 points)