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Carbon—the miracle element

Around the periodic table, it’s known as atomic number six. Its Latin root, carbo, is the basis of the English word charcoal. It’s the fourth most abundant element in the universe, and the second most abundant element in the human body. It appears in many different allotropes, or forms, ranging from soft graphite (drawing pencils) to rock-solid diamonds.


Meet the miracle element: carbon

Dating as far back as the ancient Egyptians, people have used carbon, or charcoal, to filter unpleasant odors. Fast forward centuries later, and in 1862, a scientist by the name of Frederick Lipscombe applied the first known, modern use of charcoal in water purification. Today activated carbon-based water filtering has evolved into a common, yet sophisticated, system used in people’s daily lives. However, despite the advancements in water purification, the premise today is the same as in Lipscombe’s time.

How charcoal works in water filtering

First, the charcoal becomes activated, meaning that it is infused with oxygen to make it more porous. As a result, the charcoal filter transforms into a sponge-like surface full of “countless bonding sites.” When water passes through the filter, certain chemicals attach to these bonding sites. Thus, the activated carbon acts as a net that captures impurities in the water.

Ad vs. ab

It’s interesting to note that carbon works through the process of adsorption, not absorption. The carbon doesn’t dissolve contaminants or impurities: that would be absorption. Instead, by the process of adsorption, activated carbon traps undesirable elements. As a result, during the filtering process, carbon allows only clear, purified water to flow through.

Once the carbon filter gets full, it’s time to replace it, so the process can begin again. With the Coway Aquamega 100, the filters should be replaced approximately every six months or at about every 300 gallons. (This recommendation is based on average daily use from 1.5 to 1.67 gallons.) It’s important to replace the filters in order to maintain the effectiveness of the Coway Aquamega 100 system. Coway’s engineering and design has made it fast and easy to replace the filters, so you and your family can enjoy clear and refreshing water every day.

For more information on how to replace your Coway Aquamega 100 filter, check out the Coway Aquamega 100 maintenance video.