Some Call It A Spear – Some Call It An Arrow

If you were growing up during the 60’s you’ll remember the ad slogan for spearmint gum, ” Some call it a spear – some call it an arrow”, which simply meant no matter which view you take the product is the same or the end result is the same. This phrase is not used much anymore but was popular at that time. It does, however, fit some circumstances where people may know a product or service by one term or name and not recognize that it may be called another name and still provide the same performance.

The the use of two different names or terms for two systems or products that  perform the same function can be applied to carbon or charcoal and air purification and air filtration.

Carbon is a very commonly used product for both the air and water filtration industries. In most cases the carbon or charcoal is heated in an oven to enhance or activate the charcoal so that both its surface area and adsorptive capacities are expanded. Thus the term activated carbon. For the most part, the air filtration industry uses the term “carbon” rather than charcoal as carbon is more often used in marketing the filters or holding devices that contain carbon.

In the area of air filtration or air purification there are many similarities with these terms but there are also some differences. Air filtration is the more commonly used term as this term to designate products that filter out airborne dust, dirt and contaminants has been around since the early 30’s. There are a wide variety of filter medias and filtration systems using these varied medias used in the market today.

In the 1970’s other forms of non-mechanical ( filter media is considered a mechanical method of dust removal) came into the market that used electrically charged plates ( using a positive/negative capture process) or charged the incoming air to create ozone to purify the air. Thus the term air purification was coined.

Electronic air cleaners or air purification devices do trap and collect airborne dust and dirt particles but are limited to the size of the particle they can collect and the amount. Electronic air cleaners have to be cleaned regularly to keep the plate surface clean and allow for the electrical charge process to be effective. And, unlike air filters that have a collection surface that also uses the filter cake for collection of finer particles, the electronic air cleaners become less effective as the plates collect more dirt.

Air purifiers like ozone generators and Ion generators rely on totally different technologies than air filtration systems. Ozone generators produce O3 or Ozone which reacts with odor and gaseous molecules and changes them by giving up one of its oxygen elements to change the gas molecule. They do nothing for removing airborne dust or dirt.

Ion generators basically generate an electrical charge to charge airborne particles so that when they come in contact with any surface they will stick or “plate out.” This means the dust particles will stick to the walls, floors, furniture, etc. until the charge is diminished. Again, these operate differently that air filters.

For more information on the similarities and differences in air filtration and air purification please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems. com.

Open Post

Absorb or Adsorb…You Need To Know The Difference

Remember when you first started to learn to write in cursive ( okay this is before texting) and you sometimes transposed a d for a b? When you did this it would sometimes look correct especially when combined with other words in the same sentence. Eventually you learned which letter format was correct and the d & b letters found their way into the correct word locations and you now know that each letter expressed a different meaning.

This difference between these two letters is no better misunderstood than in the different meaning of the words Adsorb and Absorb. For most people the word Absorb is used in common language as in “this paper towel will absorb a lot of water before I need another one”. Or, ” this new Sham-Wow will absorb 10 times its’ weight in water”.

So when we are using something that has the ability to pick up moisture (of any kind)  like a sponge we use the word absorb or absorption (in this case the second b is replaced by a p….don’t ask me why…ask Daniel Webster).

When we change the second letter in Absorb to a d… and make it Adsorb it modifies the meaning of the word but interestingly does not really change the process the word describes. Adsorb means the removal of odors and gases by the use of medium such as carbon or charcoal. Carbon, for example, will adsorb common gases such as formaldehyde or acetone.

Much like a sponge absorbs water, carbon and other adsorptive media use a very porous surface area to attract and retain gaseous molecules until it is saturated and then release some of those molecules like a sponge releases some water once it is saturated.

Carbon, and the other adsorptive medias such as potassium permangenate and specially treated carbon mediums, have been used for many years to aid in the removal or reduction of harmful gases and many household and industrial odors.

Pure Air Systems has been using carbon as a standard component of their HEPA based air filtration systems since 1985 and today offers a complete line of Carbon based adsorption systems for the commercial, institutional, industrial and residential markets. For more information on this line of Adsorption systems please go to our website at:

Open Post