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Activated carbon - Does it absorb odors in the air?


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Curious if anyone knows the answer to this. If I have an open bag of dry carbon, will it absorb odors out of the air?

Was doing some metal work in the distillery today (grinding and welding) and then realized I forgot to put the carbon into some sealed bags. It's currently in an open plastic bag inside a closed cardboard box.

It's not a tremendous amount of carbon to toss out, but I'd rather not waste. At the same time, I'd rather be safe than possibly ruin a batch of vodka. Figure someone here might know for sure one way or another?


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I don't believe that's quite correct. Reactivating carbon requires heat but with temperatures around 600 F (not 212F) in order to thermally destroy the previously adsorbed compounds. I'm sure Google knows the real answer.

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Come on now! You could make a case for post-harvest terroir. "Fond memories of the garage return with hints of aldehydes, biodiesel and motor oil on the finish"...

From my own position, what carbon absorbs from the air is inconsequential, because the amount it absorbs from the air is minute compared to the amount of compounds it will be absorbing when you pass a spirit through it. It does not impart anything it has bound from the air.

You can also double-bag your carbon and keep it tightly shut. This is how I store it, and I have never had any issues with strange smell, aside from carbon filtering at too high of a temperature (Which does result in some off flavors).

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With respect to the "reactivation" comments while technically Google is correct in the real world you can "regenerate" your carbon via an acid-caustic-acid wash cycle with plenty of rinse water. You'll extend the use of your carbon by years.

I was using carbon like this in 6T columns processing a million litres of product per day through 2 columns, each being washed daily with a simple acid clean and as required they's get a full regen cycle.

The carbon remained fully functional for years using that technique.

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