In applications where oil and other hydrocarbons are present in a water supply, it is especially beneficial to make use of a filter designed especially for this purpose. Doing so will not only effectively clean the water supply, but it will improve the life of subsequent filters and filtration systems down-line. Oil absorbing cartridges are made either of activated carbon or, more recently, modified cellulose media, which is extremely effective in reducing levels of hydrocarbons in a water supply, leaving it markedly cleaner, and better-suited for a number of applications, including: gas/oil facilities, surface water runoff, machine shops, factories, and car/truck washes. Activated carbon is a charcoal that is processed to make it highly porous. Coal, wood, and coconut shell are among the most commonly used materials in making an active carbon because their porosity gives them a very high surface area. In fact, the surface area of 1 gram active carbon equals to around 500 m².
Activated Carbon Filters
Active carbon shows hydrophobic and oleophilic properties, making it perfect for oil absorption applications. Oil and other chemicals cling to the carbon filter, while water is allowed to pass through the pores. Impurities that cling to the filter can clog the pores however, rendering the filter ineffective.
Modified Cellulose-Based Filters
Modified cellulose-based filters, on the other hand, chemically bond with hydrocarbons, resulting in instantaneous absorption – one more effective than activated carbon. In fact, modified cellulose media technology effectively reduces hydrocarbon levels by 95% in a single filtration pass, and hold 250-300 percent of its own weight with no release of removed hydrocarbons Both these filters are unfortunately, are incapable of removing dissolved impurities or salts. They cannot be used where high quality purification is required. However, they remain a cheap, effective, and easy-to-maintain filters solution to oil contamination within a filtration system.