Charcoal and activated charcoal are similar but have fundamental differences.granular activated carbon manufacturer Both activated and regular charcoal come from burning organic materials such as wood, coal, fruit stones (like olive pits), bamboo, coconut husks (coco coir), lignite, willow peat, petroleum - and most recently, hemp!
The distinguishing factor is that activated charcoal requires substantially higher temperatures to create. These high temperatures activate the carbon atoms and burn off all remaining molecules that remain intact in the source material. Sometimes, activated carbon is 'impregnated' with other chemicals/elements to optimize the beneficial effects of the carbon while creating a synergy with the added compounds.
Activated charcoal is pure carbon – but then again, so are diamonds and graphite. The difference lies in the preparation.
One way to understand how it works is by imagining carbon (the sixth element on the periodic table) as a skeleton, and all the other parts of the material (whether it's wood, peat, hemp, etc.) as the different parts of the body. By melting off everything and leaving the skeleton exposed, there becomes an abundance of 'connection sites' if you will; open slots that were previously occupied by other elements.
Countless numbers of pores open on the molecular level, giving one teaspoon of activated carbon more surface area than a football field. Observe the porous nature of activated charcoal in this image, obtained using a scanning electron microscope.
A relevant term to know is adsorption, which is distinct from absorption. Absorption is the process of a fluid being dissolved by a liquid or solid (think of a sponge soaking up water). Adsorption is when molecules, ions, or atoms adhere to the surface of the adsorbent (think of a magnet and iron filings). coconutactivatedcarbon.com The pores of activated charcoal carry negative electrical charges, causing it to attract positively charged molecules - such as heavy metals, drugs, and other toxins.