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The Role of Activated Carbon in Water Purifiers

The Role of Activated Carbon in Water Purifiers

Water purification is a multifaceted process, and one of the unsung heroes in this endeavor is activated carbon. Used in a variety of purification systems, activated carbon is a versatile and effective component. Let’s delve into its function, benefits, and its significance in both RO and UV purifiers.

What is Activated Carbon?

Activated carbon, often referred to as activated charcoal, is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores. These pores increase the surface area available for adsorption, making it highly effective in trapping impurities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a detailed overview of activated carbon treatment.

Function in Water Purifiers

Activated carbon primarily functions through a process called adsorption. It attracts and captures impurities, including organic compounds, chlorine, and even certain odors, from water. This ScienceDirect article delves deeper into the adsorption properties of activated carbon.

Benefits of Activated Carbon in Purification

  • Chemical Removal: Effectively removes chlorine, which is often used as a disinfectant in municipal water supplies.
  • Odor and Taste Improvement: By removing certain contaminants and chemicals, activated carbon enhances the taste and smell of water.
  • Organic Compound Removal: Efficiently adsorbs many organic pollutants, ensuring cleaner water.

Activated Carbon in RO and UV Purifiers

Both RO (Reverse Osmosis) and UV (Ultraviolet) purifiers often incorporate activated carbon filters in their systems:

  • RO Purifiers: Activated carbon filters are used pre and post the RO process. They protect the RO membrane from chlorine damage and improve the taste of the purified water. More on this can be found in this research article.
  • UV Purifiers: In UV systems, activated carbon filters complement the UV process by removing contaminants that the UV light might not target, ensuring comprehensive purification. The World Health Organization (WHO) discusses the combined benefits of UV and activated carbon.


Activated carbon is a testament to the adage that sometimes, simple solutions are the most effective. Its ability to purify water through adsorption makes it an indispensable component in modern water purification systems. As we strive for cleaner, safer drinking water, the role of activated carbon remains pivotal.

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