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SKBob

Fruit Stone Collection

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SKBob

I have recently been given access to the village parish magazines covering the war and on one occasion there is a report of the scout troop scouring the district to collect fruit stones, date stones and kernels of hard nuts "for an important war service vital to the welfare of our troops at the front". Can someone advise what this was for ?

Thanks ladies & gents

Bob

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Simon Jones

It was to make charcoal for gas mask filters.

S

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centurion

I wonder what it was about nuts that made better absorbing charcoal than, say, ordinary wood.

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Doug Johnson

Activated carbon is still used for removing gases etc and is in common use in cooker hoods etc for removing smells. Coconut shell is commonly used and it has a property where, when turned into charcoal, it ends up full of cavities which vastly increases the surface area and creates little pockets for the gas molecules to be trapped in. Depending on what gases you want removing depends on whether the carbon is coated in a chemical or not and what coating is used. Spent activated carbon can be reactivated by heating it. A more in depth explanation is beyond me.

Doug

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centurion

Doug

I was aware of how carbon is used for removal of gases and particles - my question remains unanswered what is special about carbon made from nuts (other than coconut) rather than hardwood which is the usual source?

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SKBob

Thanks for that chaps - most illuminating. My thoughts were way off (won't tell you what they were !)

Bob

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NigelS
Spent activated carbon can be reactivated by heating it.

I believe that in doing so the gas(es) absorbed will be given off - a technique used in gas chromatography - so, not a good idea to be within nose range!

Could it be that charcoal made from fruit stones contain some chemical, not contained in other forms, that gives a better, or different, adsorbtion characteristic? there must be a chemist out there who can give a definitive answer.

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johnreed

If my memory serves me correct Horse Chestnuts were used in the manufacture of cellulose and then into cordite.

John

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Doug Johnson

Centurion,

Activated carbon is made from charcoal. At the time of the first world war the process was to heat the material to drive off the volatiles (to make charcoal) and to add steam to activate it. The activation produces the fissures required to remove whatever you want to remove (3 grammes is supposed to have the same surface area as a tennis court). Getting the right size fissures etc is important to what you want to remove. There are apparently some 150+ types of activated carbon all used for different purposes. Coconut was the one of the first to be used for gas masks and apricot stones, grape seeds etc all produce the right product for removal of gases from air. I think it is now possible to use wood using chemicals etc (invented by WW11) but it is a more expensive process. I have no idea though as to whether it can produce the right type of material.

Regards

Doug

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