Professional Analytical and Consulting Services

Activated Carbon Tester

PACS provides an Activated Carbon (AC) Tester apparatus based on measuring adsorption heat. When you purchase the AC Tester you receive a standard operating procedure (SOP) and technical support. Some common activated carbon user problems solved by this AC Tester are:

• How much longer can I use my carbon before breakthrough?

• What is the relative adsorption efficiency rating of AC from different vendors in this defined test?

• Where is the mass transfer zone located in operating activated carbon beds?

• Is the AC received today as good as previous delivieries?

• Screening of AC samples with the AC TESTER to reduce number of more extensive tests.

• How good is the reactivated carbon coming out of the furnace?

Simply place 30-ml of mineral oil into two PACS AC Testers. Record temperature. The control monitors baseline (any environmental temperature changes) and the carbon sample is added to the second AC Tester to determine temperature rise due to AC adsorption exotherm. Adsorption is an exothermic phenomenon.

Each AC Tester unit costs $295.

Case Studies for Activated Carbon Tester Based on Heat of Immersion

Henry Nowicki, Ph.D. - PACS, Inc.

During two prior International Activated Carbon Conferences (IACC-1 and IACC-3) here in Pittsburgh we provided talks which supported the use of "heat of immersion" as a phenomenon useful for the activated carbon (AC) industry to evaluate activated carbons which were partially used. The idea for this device came about from discussions with Dr. Manes at one of his "Activated Carbon Principles, GAED, Practices and Opportunities" training courses. We have shown that the heat of immersion is independent of particle size and the moisture content. The test is reproducible and can be conducted by an individual with little training; some early experimental work years ago was done by my 14-year-old son in our garage.

Activated carbons have wide use in liquid- and vapor-phase applications. AC users want to know the initial AC quality and its changes during their applications. The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) provides tests for initial AC quality: Iodine Number, Carbon Tetrachloride Activity, Butane Working Capacity, Particle Sizing, etc. ASTM tests are best suited for evaluation of virgin AC and not used AC. It is known that AC adsorption produces heat. We are selling a simple and easy to use test apparatus to evaluate the heat of adsorption when AC is immersed in a hydrocarbon solvent. The heat of immersion is compared with the virgin AC to estimate the remaining adsorption space in the used AC. Heat of immersion appears to be useful for both initial AC quality and monitoring changes in AC adsorption capacity during use. During the last ten years we have sold more than 300 units of the AC Tester. Several applications have emerged for the AC Tester and have been reported to us by users. We have had no negative feedback, but have had several positive reports from users. The case studies are reported below.

Case Study 1: Activated carbon has an application in vapor control during loading/unloading petroleum ocean tankers. Low heats of immersion were observed while the used AC showed high butane and carbon tetrachloride activity using standard ASTM test methods.

Case Study 2: A client uses the activated carbon tester to run about a hundred samples and then perform ASTM Iodine Number determination selectively on about 10% of the samples.

Case Study 3: A client produced some black material during processing waste agricultural material. They wanted to know if it would fit into the activated carbon markets as an adsorbent. Heat of immersion data suggested other markets for the material should be pursued.

Case Study 4: A client used this AC Tester to locate the mass transfer zone (MTZ) in their partially used activated carbon column.

We have been encouraged by users of our Activated Carbon Tester and the applications that we have been told about. Recently we obtained a grant to develop an instrument with a thermistor and computer to better monitor heat of immersion.


For laboratory testing and consulting and software, contact Dr. Henry Nowicki at:

For Carbon Conferences, Short Courses in public sessions or at your time and place contact Barbara Sherman at:

PACS also provides testing, courses and consulting at the client's time and place.

PACS Positions Available

Laboratory chemist for activated carbon group.

PACS has positions available for professional scientific service providers, and has provided these services for over 35 years. PACS will accept proposals for short courses, consultants, conference directors for focused conference subjects, and other needed services. New ideas are welcomed.

One-day courses cost $995, two-days $1995, three-days $2395.

PACS, Inc.
409 Meade Drive
Coraopolis, PA 15108

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