Activated Carbon Adsorption

Activated Carbon Adsorption is the act of an accumulation of a gas or liquid onto the surface of the activated carbon, an inert solid material. This process is used to remove diverse, dissolved contaminants from water, air, and gaseous streams.

In our specific case, Sentry Air Systems activated carbon filters remove unwarranted chemicals and contaminants from air and gaseous streams, and in most cases not used in water applications.

In its most effective form, the activated carbon secludes organics due to the makeup of carbon and hydrogen. Therefore, the activated carbon has a much greater attraction to the contaminant than the contaminant has with the air/gas.1 Thus, leaving the air/gas pure and at a non-contaminated state.

Activated Carbon Adsorption Capacity

The effectiveness at which activated carbon can remove contaminants from a stream is not based on the quantity of carbon, but, the activated carbon adsorption capacity. The greater the capacity, the more contaminants the activated carbon will be able to adsorb in volume. However, due to natural carbon’s limitations, it is not able to adsorb certain contaminants, as there molecular weight are to low to be treated through this process alone.

Active carbon is most effective against compounds that hold a high molecular weight and low solubility due to activated carbon having a high molecular weight as well. If there is ever an uncertainty if a specific contaminant will be removed in the adsorption process, referral is to be made to the solubility and molecular weight of said containment.

Activated Carbon Adsorption Index Chart

E - Excellent High capacity. Each pound of activated carbon will adsorb an average of 33 - 1/3% of its weight in these compounds.

G - Good. Satisfactory capacity. Each pound of activated carbon will adsorb an average of 16.7% (1/6) of its weight in this compound.

CF - Call Factory for details

Chart is in alpahabetical order


Adsorptive Ability


Adsorptive Ability


Adsorptive Ability


Adsorptive Ability

Acetaldehyde CF Cyclohexanol E Hydrogen cyanide G Paint & redecorating odors E
Acetic Acid E Cyclohexanol E Hydrogen fluoride CF Palmitic Acid E
Acetic anhydride E Cyclohexene E Hydrogen iodide G Paradichlorbenzine E
Acetone (PDF) G Decane E Hydrogen selenide CF Pantane G
Acetylene CF Dibromoethane E

Hydrogen sulfide

G Pentanone E
Acrolem G Dichlorobenzene E Incensen E Pentylene G
Acrylic Acid E Dichlorodifluoromethane G Indole E Pentyne G
Acrylonitrile E Dichloroethane E Iodine E Perchloroethylene E
Alcoholic Beverages E Dichloroethylene E Iodoform E Perfumes, cosmetics E
Amines F Dichloroethyl E Irritants E Phenol E
Ammonia CF Dichloromonofluormethane G Isophorone E Phosgene G
Ameyl acetate E Dichloronitroethane E Isoprene G Pitch E
Amyl alcohol E Dichloroprpane E Isopropyl acetate E Poison gases G
Amyl ether E Dichlorotetrafluoroethane E Isopropyl aclcohol (PDF) E Pollen G
Aniline E Diesel fumes E Isopropyl ether E Popcorn and candy E
Asphalt fumes E Diethylamine G Kerosene E Poultry odors E
Automobile Exhaust G Diethyl ketone E Kitchen odors E Propane CF
Benzene E Dimethylaniline E Lactic acid E Propionaldehyde G
Body odors E Dimethylsulfate E Menthol E Propionic acid E
Borane G Dioxane E Mercaptans E Propyl acetate E
Bromine E Diproyl ketone E Methane CF Propyl alcohol E
Burned Flesh E Ethane CF Methil acetate G Propyl chloride E
Burned Food E Ether (PDF) G Menthyl acrylate E Propyl ether E
Butadiene G Ethyl acetate E Methyl alcohol G Propyl mercaptan E
Butane CF Ethyl acrylate E Methyl bromide G Propylene CF
Butanone E Ethyl alcohol E Methyl butyl ketone E Propyne CF
Butyl acetate E Ethyl amine G Methyl cellosolve E Putrefying substances G
Butyl alcohol E Ethyl benzene E Methyl cellosolve acetate E Putrescine E
Butyl cellosolve E Ethyl bromide E Methyl chloride G Pyridine E
Butyl chloride E Ethyl chloride G Methyl chloroform E Resins E
Butyl ether E Ethyl ether (PDF) G Methyl ether G Rubber E
Butylene CF Ethyl formate G Methyl ethyl ketone (PDF) E Sauerkraut E
Butyne CF Ethyl mercaptan G Methyl formate G Sewer odors E
Butyraldehyde G Ethyl silicate E Methyl isobutyl ketone E Skalote E
Butyric acid E Ethylene CF Methyl mercaptan E Slughtering odors G
Camphor E Ethylene chlorhydrin E Methylcyclohexane E Smog E
Caprylic acid E Ethylene dichloride E Methylcyclohexanol E Sour milks E
Carbolic acid E Ethylene oxide G Methylcyclohexaone E Stoddard sovent E
Carbon disulfide E Essential oils E Methylene chloride (PDF) E Styrene monomer E
Carbon dioxide CF Eucalyptole E Monochlorobenzene CF Sulfur dioxide CF
Carbon monoxide CF Fertilizer E Monofluorotri cloromethane E Sulfur trioxide G
Carbon tetrachloride E Film processing odors G Naphtha E Sulfuric acid E
Cellosolve E Fish odors E Naphthziene E Tetrachloroethane E
Cellosolve acetate E Floral scents E Nitric acid G Tetrachloroethylene E
Cheese E Fluorotrichloromethane G Nitro benzenes E Tobacco smoke odor E
Chorine G Formaldehyde (PDF) G Nitroethane E Toilet odors E
Chlorobenzene E Formic acid G Nitrogen dioxide CF Toluene (PDF) E
Chlorobutadiene E Gangrene E Nitroglycerine E Toluidine E
Chloroform E Garlic E Nitromethane E Trichlorethylene E
Chloronitropropane E Gasoline E Nitropropane E Trichloroethane E
Chloropicrin E Heptane E Nitrotoluene E Turpentine E
Citrus and other fruits E Heptylene E Nonane E Urea CF
Cleaning compounds E Hexane G Octalene E Uric acid E
Coal smoke G Hexylene G Octane E Valeric acid E
Creosote E Hexyne G Onions E Valericaldehyde E
Cresol E Hydrogen CF Organic Chemicals E Varnish fumes E
Crotonaldehyde E Hydrogen bromide G Ozone E Xylene (PDF) E
Cychlohexane E Hydrogen chloride CF Packing house odors E   

How Activated Carbon Works


  1. Activated Carbon Filtration