Standard Test Method for Apparent Density of Activated Carbon – ASTM D 2854-96

Standard Test Method for Apparent Density of Activated Carbon – ASTM D 2854-96


1.1  This test method covers the determination of the apparent density of granular of activated carbon. For purposes of this test method, granular of activated carbon is defined as a minimum of 90% being larger than 80 mesh.

1.2   This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

2-Referenced documents

2.1 ASTM standard

D 2862 Test Method for Particle Size Distribution of Granular Activated Carbon

D 2867 Test Method of Moisture in Activated Carbon

E 177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

E 300 Practice for Sampling Industrial Chemicals

E 542 Practice for Calibration of Laboratory Volumetric Apparatus

3-Summary of Test Method

3.1 Apparent density (bulk density) is determined on a granular sample by measuring the volume packed by a free fall from a vibrating feeder into an appropriately sized graduated cylinder and determining the mass of the known volume. Other packing procedures can result in different apparent densities

4-Significant and Use

4.1 This test method provides a method for determining the packed density of a bed of granular activated carbon. Determination of the packed density is essential when designing vessels to hold the material and for

Ordering purposes when procuring materials to fill existing vessels

5- Apparatus (see Fig. 1)

5.1 Reservoir Funnel, fabricated of glass or metal

5.2 Feed funnel, glass or metal

5.3 Vibratory Feeder, such as show in Fig. 1 or similar.

5.4 Cylinders, graduated 100,250, or 500 mL, calibrated “to contain” (TC)

5.5 Balance, having a sensitivity of 0.1 g.

  1. Procedure

6.1 select a 100, 250, or 500 mL graduated cylinder appropriate for the particles size of the activated carbon to be tested. The inside diameter of cylinder shall be at least 10 time the mean particle diameter (MPD) as determined by Test Method D 2826.

6.2 If desired, the graduated cylinder may be calibrated by the user in accordance With Practice D 542

6.3 Obtain a representative sample of activated carbon in accordance with Practice E300. Carefully place the sample of activated carbon into the reservoir funnel so that the materials does not prematurely flow into the graduated cylinder. If this occurs, return the materials to the reservoir funnel.

6.4 The feed funnel should have an outside diameter which just fits inside the chosen graduated cylinder. Adjust the height of the reservoir funnel above the vibrator trough so that a free flow of materials is obtained. The drawing in Fig. 1 show a typical apparatus using a 100 mL TC graduated cylinder.

6.5 Add the sample to the cylinder using vibratory feeder though the feed funnel. Adjust the flow rate control to fill the cylinder at a uniform rate not less than 0.75 or exceeding 1.0 mL/s up to the mark corresponding to the volume chosen. The graduated cylinder shall be filled at least 50% of its capacity.

6.6 Transfer the content from the cylinder to a balance pan and weigh to the nearest 0.1 g.

  1. Calculation

7.1 Calculate the as-received apparent density as flows:

As-received apparent density, g/mL

 =Mass of activated carbon in grams/carbon volume in millilitres

7.2 Calculate the as-received apparent density on the dry basic as follows:

Dry apparent density, g/mL

       =  as-received apparent density

X  ( )

Percent moiture is determined using Test Method D 2867.


8.1 The report should include the following:

8.1.1 Complete the identification of the sample, including source, manufacture’s lot number, and carbon type.

8.1.2 The volume of the graduated cylinder and the volume of carbon used in the test.
8.1.3 The as-receive apparent density, the apparent density (dry basic), and the percent moisture.

9-Precision and Bias

9.1 An interlaboratory study was run in which sample of three types of activated carbon were test for as-received apparent density in each of five laboratories (the 8 by 30 mesh coal carbon was tested in six laboratory).

9.2 The precision information given in Table 1 in grams per milliliter is for the comparison of two test results, each of which is the average of three test determinations.

9.3 The precision information give in Table 1 (repeatability limit and reproducibility limit)  are use as specified in Practice E 177. The respective standard deviation among test results may be obtained by dividing the above limit values by 2.8.

9.4 This method has no bias because apparent density of activated carbon is defined in terms of this test method.


10- Keywords

10.1 activated carbon; granular activated carbon

TABLE 1 Precision Information
  8 by 30 Coal 4 by 10 Coco 4 mm Pellet
Average apparent density
95 % repeatability limit
(within laboratory)
95 % reproducibility limit
(between labortories)
0.504 g/mL
0.008 g/mL

0.014  g/mL

0.500 g/mL
0.007 g/mL

0.025  g/mL

0.505 g/mL
0.009 g/mL

0.034  g/mL


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