Application 1008 Image describing the rotating bed reactor procedure and function using a solid phase material in a liquid reaction

Activated carbon decolorization, fast and without filtration

Activated carbon is a common choice for removing impurities or capturing compounds from a product batch. However, the carbon may itself foul the product and be difficult to separate. The rotating bed reactor offers a clean way to deploy activated carbon that removes the need for time-consuming filtration and extends the lifetime of the solid phase.


A stirred batch reactor causes mechanical damage to particles in suspension, such as activated carbon used for purification. They are quickly broken down into smaller pieces (fines) that make necessary a very small filter porosity to separate them. This makes filtration more time-consuming, and possibly requires pumping at high pressures.

SpinChem provides industrial solutions for 100+ m3 of liquids and R&D solutions for benchtop testing. What do you need to purify?

The rotating bed reactor (RBR) keeps the activated carbon, or any other compatible adsorbent, protected from attrition. This reduces or removes completely the need for filtration after the process, and also extends the total amount of product that the adsorbent can be used for. Both of these features will reduce the operational cost of the process.

As with many applications, the rotating bed reactor was in this application proven to be faster than the stirred tank for decolorization of methylene blue using activated carbon. In summary, the RBR offers

  • Faster decolorization
  • Elimination of time-consuming filtration
  • Extended adsorbent lifetime
  • Scalability

All of the above are reasons to consider using a rotating bed reactor for your purification, available in formats from milliliters to hundreds of cubic meters.

Further reading:


Conditions: Adsorption of methylene blue (100 mg) onto activated carbon (40 mL, 12-40 mesh) placed either in a SpinChem® S311 rotating bed reactor (RBR) or stirred free in solution agitated by a 5 cm impeller, both operated at 800 rpm within a SpinChem® V311 flower-baffled reaction vessel containing 1000 mL water at room temperature. The video is shown at 12x the normal speed. The solution was decolourized after 5 minutes with the RBR, versus close to 10 minutes with the stirred tank reactor (STR). Samples from the RBR set-up required no filtration, but from the STR all samples required filtration through a 45 µm syringe filter for analysis.

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