How to use activated carbon

Activated carbon may be used as a filter bed, passing liquid through it in a slow, steady stream. This is very common industrially, where materials are passed through several beds of activated adsorbents as part of a continuous flow process. However, the longer a liquid is in contact with an adsorbent, the greater the degree of purification. If you are treating alcohol with a filter bed, you should dilute it to approximately 40% before the treatment. This is because the addition of water makes the congeners less soluble, and easier for the carbon to adsorb.

If you have the time and space, it is far more effective to simply place your alcohol and the activated carbon together in a large container and let it sit for a couple of weeks. This method works very well with alcohol of any strength. We have regularly used this method with 96% ethanol with very good results.

With either method, you will need to filter the alcohol carefully after carbon treatment to remove tiny carbon dust particles. A few cotton balls in the neck of a large funnel does a fine job.

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