Activated carbon is a form of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between its carbon atoms. It is an excellent source of water filtration, and is made from carbon-rich source materials such as wood, bamboo, nutshells, peach pits and coconut husks. The material is charred at high temperatures to produce a highly porous substance that attracts and holds organic chemicals inside it. It can be used to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene and chlorine, as well as odors and colors, from water.Read More
Heyl & Patterson Blog
Rare earth elements are a set of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table, and are known to the U.S. Department of Energy as "technology metals." Their magnetic, phosphorescent and catalystic properties are greatly responsible for our 21st century high-tech society. Despite the name, they are relatively abundant in the Earth's crust, but it is unusual to find them in quantities significant enough to support economic mineral development. Rare earth elements have become a hot commodity as more and more uses for them are found. Used in everything from computer memory to nuclear reactors, rare earths are becoming increasingly important in the development of modern technology.
Zeolite refers to a family of more than 200 different minerals with a variety of interesting uses, ranging from water softeners to cat litter to industrial process catalysts. Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals, made from interlinked alumina and silica tetrahedrons. Their porous crystalline structure is built from aluminum, oxygen and silicon, and water molecules and alkaline metals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium are trapped in the gaps between their lattice-like components. The framework of zeolites is what makes them useful, allowing them to trap other molecules inside, where their bonds can be broken down.
Silica gel is a hard, porous form of silicon dioxide that is commonly processed into beads or granules and used as a dessicant, and is inside the permeable paper packets marked "DO NOT EAT" that are found inside many products. The substance is made from sodium silicate, and its strong affinity for water molecules causes it to adsorb wetness and prevent mold from forming, which spoils many products. Chemically, silica gel removes water vapor through adsorption of its numerous surface pores rather than by absorption into the gel itself. Most people may be aware of silica gel to some degree, but not everyone knows how it is made.