Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal, activated coal, or carbo activatus, is a form of carbon processed to be riddled with small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions. Activated is sometimes substituted with active.
Due to its high degree of micro porosity, just one gram of activated carbon has a surface area in excess of 500 m2, as determined by adsorption isotherms of dioxide gas at room or 0.0 °C temperature. An activation level sufficient for useful application may be attained solely from high surface area; however, further chemical treatment often enhances adsorption properties.
- Activated carbon is also used for the measurement of radon concentration in air.
- Activated carbon is used to treat poisonings and overdoses following oral ingestion.
- Filters with activated carbon are usually used in compressed air and gas purification to remove oil vapors, odors, and other hydrocarbons from the air.
- Activated carbon is commonly used to purify solutions containing un-wanted colored impurities such as during a recrystallization procedure in Organic Chemistry.