Resource: Cameron Carbon Incorporated
The first known use of activated carbon dates back to the Ancient Egyptians who utilized its adsorbent properties for purifying oils and medicinal purposes.  Centuries later, the early ocean-going vessels stored drinking water in wooden barrels, the inside of which had been charred.  (However, by modern definition the carbon used in these applications could not truly be described as “activated”).  By the early 19th century both wood and bone charcoal was in large-scale use for the decolorization and purification of cane sugar.
However, it was not until the beginning of the First World War that the potential of activated carbon was really capitalized upon.  The advent of gas warfare necessitated the development of suitable respiratory devices for personnel protection. Granular activated carbon was used to this end as, indeed, it still is today.

By the late 1930’s there was considerable industrial-scale use of carbon for gaseous and liquid phase application and new manufacturing processes had been developed to satisfy the needs of industry.  During the 1939-1945 war, a further significant development took place - the production of more sophisticated chemically impregnated carbon for entrapment of both war and nerve gases.

Modern day uses of carbon are diverse, to say the least.  Cameron carbons, for instance, are used in consumer products such as refrigerator deodorizers and at the other end of the spectrum in high technology applications such as nuclear power plant containment systems.

In order to fulfill the requirements of such a variety of industries, Cameron Carbon presently supplies in excess of 30 different types of activated carbon.

The aim of this paper is to inform users and potential users of the manufacture, structure and properties of activated carbon.

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    Activated Carbon Manufacture Strcture And Properties

    Commonly used mesh sizes include 4x6, 4x8, 6x12, 8x16, 8x30, 12x40 and 20x50. However, other mesh sizes can be supplied, in either a narrower or broader cut, whenever they are required for a specific application. The efficiency of a particular carbon will be influenced by the mesh size, such that effiency increases as physical size decreases. However, there may be a limit to the size used on the grounds of pressure drop restrictions.