How is a Coconut Transformed Into Activated Carbon?

Western Carbon & Chemicals
3 min readApr 1, 2024

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Activated coconut or activated charcoal are versatile materials that are widely used in different industries. These materials are oxidized or activated to enhance their properties, like surface area and porosity. Ever wondered how a coconut becomes activated carbon? In this blog, we’ll walk you through how a coconut is transferred to an activated carbon.

How is Activated Charcoal Made?

There are several coconut shell activated carbon manufacturing processes. Before starting the production process, the coconut flesh is removed and cleaned to ensure the coconut shell is dry. The external part of the coconut is cleaned as well.

Essential Properties of Activated Carbon:

  • Pore Diameter: The pores inside and outside play a significant role in how well the material performs.
  • Surface Area: The surface area gives the charcoal its absorption ability.
  • Density: A high density determines a high-quality activated carbon.
  • Iodine Number: Iodine absorption is used to measure the effectiveness and versatility of activated carbon.
  • Ash Content: It is an important measurement that can change the effectiveness of the activated carbon.
  • Mesh: It is the granular size and is measured using the mesh system.
  • Molasses Number: It is the measurement to test the effectives of the charcoal to eliminate larger molecules.

The Following Methods are Used to Make Coconut Shell Charcoal

  • Charring

After the coconut shell is cleaned and dried, various methods are used to turn this material into charcoal. The method of turning the coconut shell into charcoal is called pyrolysis or charring. The activated carbon manufacturer heats the coconut shell at high temperatures, viz somewhere between 300 to 500 degrees Celsius, for a few hours to turn it into charcoal. If you are wondering how to make activated carbon, one of the popular methods is using a drum klin, a closely lidded tank with a small chimney that limits the oxygen flow and creates higher temperatures. In the klin the bottom part of the coconut shell will oxide first. This forms an orange color that comes from the bottom part. This process can take up to 12 hours.

  • Pacification

At the next stage, the airflow is cut off to the bottom of the drum to allow the coal to cool down. This stage is known as the pacification phase. This step is very crucial because if the charcoal is burned for a long time; it will turn to ash. The coconut shell needs to be fetched at the right time in the carbonization process. After this process, you are left with coconut carbon. The next step is activating the coconut carbon to be used for diverse applications.

  • Steam Activation

The main goal of the coconut shell based activated carbon manufacturers in India is to enhance the pore size of the carbon so they are ideal for purification and filtration purposes. Western Carbon & Chemicals offers customization in terms of pore size, surface area and sizes to suit specific applications. In the steam activation process, an inert gas is heated to a temperature of 800 to 110 degrees Celsius in a rotary drum klin. This creates steam that dehydrates the charcoal and minimizes the volatile organic compounds (VOC). As the coconut carbon steams, its pore structure is enlarged to meet the specific requirements to catch water molecules. After the right pore structure is achieved, the activated carbon finally completes the manufacturing process. This is how activated charcoal is made, which is later crushed, graded and properly sorted according to mesh size.

The Quality of Activated Carbon Depends on:

  • The reaction temperature
  • The quality of raw materials used
  • The time taken for activation and rate of reaction
  • The type of oxidation gases

Conclusion

This is the manufacturing process of activated carbon and how it is made. It is a highly versatile material that is used in applications like water treatment systems, an important ingredient in pharmaceuticals, food & beverages and others. Western Carbon & Chemicals is one of the leading activated carbon suppliers in India. We offer a wide range of activated carbon products customized for your diverse application. If you are looking to buy activated carbon, call us to discuss your requirements.

Also Visit:- Why Use Carbon Molecular Sieves For Gas Separation?

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Western Carbon & Chemicals
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Western Carbon & Chemicals has been a leading Exporter and supplier of activated carbon products and services since 1968. https://www.westerncarbon.com/