Activated Carbon

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What is activated carbon?

Activated carbon is an internally porous microcrystalline, non-graphitic form of carbon.1 The activation of carbons involves the exposure of carbon to an atmosphere of CO2, CO, O2, H2O vapor and sometimes other specified gases, at temperatures between 300°C and 800°C. This is followed by quenching of the carbon in air or water.2,3 It is generally used as a catalyst or adsorbent for the removal of dyes, odors, tastes, and contaminants. Therefore, it is also used in water decontamination and purification processes.4

This form of carbon is available in a variety of grades for purification and, particularly, for decoloration applications, as well as for specialized uses.

Darco® KB and KB-B activated carbon

These grades have exceptionally high adsorptive capacities for specific color bodies, making them particularly useful for purifying highly colored liquids. Darco KB-B is processed to achieve an exceptionally low iron content (100 ppm maximum extractable) for very sensitive applications.


Table 6 - Specifications for Activated Carbon
Catalog Number 161551 242233 292591 242241 242268 242276 260010 278092 278106
Type Darco® Darco Darco Darco
Norit A® Darco
Description acid-washed lignite carbon, granular granular acidwashed, granular unwashed lignite carbon, granular high-purity powder powder wet powder wet powder
Particle size (mesh) 4-12 4-14 12-20 12-40 100-325 200-325 100-325 100-325
Surface area
(m2/g, approx.)
600 600 600 750 1500 1500
Pore volume (ml/g, dry basis) 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.95 2 2
(%, max.)
12 2 33 33
Iodine number 800
Methylene Blue adsorption
(g/100g, min.)
15 12.5
pH (water extract, approx.) 6-8 9 5 5
Ash (%) 3.5 6 3 3
Molasses decolorizing number 440 185 185
Water solubles
(%, max.)
0.5 1.5 1.5
Tamped bulk density
(lb/cu ft)
25 a 28 28
(ppm, max.)
200 100
Phosphates (%, extractable) 0.5 0.5
Application decolorizing general general- purpose general- purpose high-purity use decolorizing b b


apacked, 0.460g/ml b described above

®Registered trademarks of American Norit Co., Inc.


  1. Roy, Glenn M. Activated carbon applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries. CRC Press, 1994:1.
  2. Coughlin, Robert W. "Carbon as adsorbent and catalyst." Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Product Research and Development 8.1 (1969): 12-23.
  3. Mattson, James S., et al. "Surface oxides of activated carbon: Internal reflectance spectroscopic examination of activated sugar carbons." Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 33.2 (1970): 284-293.
  4. Yakout, S. M., and G. Sharaf El-Deen. "Characterization of activated carbon prepared by phosphoric acid activation of olive stones." Arabian Journal of Chemistry (2011).