How to purify air using active charcoal
This spectacular experiment shows how air is purified in gas masks and other purifying devices, using active charcoal.
Reagents and equipment:
- concentrated nitric acid;
- active charcoal;
- conic flasks (3);
- stoppers (2);
- stopper with a gas pipe (1).
Prepare three flasks, two with stoppers and one with a gas pipe. Place copper in the flask with a gas pipe and pour in concentrated nitric acid. A brown gas starts to be released violently – nitrogen dioxide, which we pour into the two flasks and seal them with stoppers. After a while, when we are sure that our systems are hermetic, we add tablets of active charcoal to one of the flasks.
Several minutes later, in the flask with the active charcoal, the gas will gradually start to disappear. The absorption of the gas by the active charcoal takes place. Adsorption is a process when the surface layer of a liquid or solid body – an adsorbent – takes in gases, vapors and substances from a substance or gas mixture. Active charcoal is a good adsorbent, and depending on the technology of its manufacture, the surface of one gram of charcoal that can adsorb substances reaches 1500 m². Active charcoal is widely used in medicine and technology for the purification, separation and extraction of various substances.
This experiment uses poisonous substances. Do not try it at home.
Warning! Substances of this experiment are toxic and highly dangerous for your health. Do not try this at home. Only under professional supervision.