The activated carbon attracts and adsorbs organic molecules as well as certain metal and inorganic molecules. When the concentration of contaminants in the vapor exiting the vessels exceeds a certain level, the carbon must be replaced. Spent carbon can be regenerated in place; removed and regenerated at an off-site facility; or most commonly, removed and disposed.
New pollutants are being increasingly recognized. Air pollution sources have grown and so also the pollutants. Contaminants absorb onto the surfaces of the activated carbon grains. The thermal processing of carbon, often from coconut shells, creates small porous particles with a large internal surface area.
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