DIY Activated Carbon - Acid Activation in East Africa

DIY Activated Carbon - Acid Activation in East Africa

The article provides a simplified procedure for making activated carbon using acid activation, emphasizing the steps involved and the materials needed.

Activated carbon, with its highly porous structure, is widely used for various applications such as water purification, air filtration, and industrial processes. This DIY guide will walk you through the process of making activated carbon using acid activation.


  1. Choose a Carbon-Rich Material: Start by selecting a carbon-rich material such as coconut shells, wood, or peat. These materials contain organic carbon that will be transformed into activated carbon through the process.

  2. Carbonization: Carbonization involves heating the chosen material in an oxygen-limited environment to around 500°C to 900°C (932°F to 1652°F) to convert it into charcoal. This process removes volatile components and enhances its adsorption properties.

  3. Charcoal Preparation: Crush the charcoal into small pieces or grind it into a powder to increase the surface area, allowing for better adsorption capabilities.

  4. Prepare Acid Solution: Prepare a solution of the acid you wish to use (e.g., phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid, or hydrochloric acid) with a concentration of approximately 10-20%.

  5. Impregnation: Immerse the charcoal in the acid solution and let it soak for several hours to a day at room temperature. This process allows the acid solution to penetrate the charcoal, preparing it for activation.

  6. Draining and Removal of Excess Acid: After impregnation, drain and remove any excess acid from the charcoal to prevent excessive acidity in the final product.

  7. Activation: Heat the acid-impregnated charcoal in an oven or kiln at temperatures between 400°C to 800°C (752°F to 1472°F) for several hours. This process causes chemical reactions between the acid and the carbon, resulting in a highly porous and adsorbent structure in the activated carbon.

  8. Cooling: Allow the activated charcoal to cool down completely before further processing.

  9. Rinsing: Thoroughly rinse the activated carbon with water to remove any residual acid or impurities.

  10. Drying: Dry the activated carbon completely before storing or using it for any applications.

Congratulations! You have successfully created activated carbon through the acid activation method. Now you can utilize it for various purposes like water treatment, air purification, or any other applications that require efficient adsorption.

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