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Updated by Sorbead India sorbead on Feb 18, 2017
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5 Best Applications of Activated Alumina

Activated Alumina is a very popular type of desiccant. It is created by dehydroxylating aluminium hydroxide in such a manner that a finely porous substance is produced. Activated alumina or active alumina, as it's commonly known, has a considerably strong surface area to weight ratio, which makes it a very useful adsorbent. Check out the best uses and applications of Activated Alumina. Activated Alumina is a widely used form of desiccant, mainly employed for adsorption purposes as well as in water treatment plants. The process of manufacturing Activated Alumina is quite simple. Firstly, aluminium hydroxide is dehydroxylated in such a manner that it leads to the creation of an efficient porous material. The main constituent of Activated Alumina is aluminium oxide (Al2O3) and is similar to precious stones like sapphire and ruby in composition.

The main feature of Activated Alumina, which explains its extensive use for water treatment and desiccant purposes, is its high adsorption quality. This high adsorption characteristic can be attributed to its large surface area – 345-415 m2/g. This quality makes Activated Alumina the ideal choice for treating drinking water for chemical impurities like flouride, arsenic and many others. The desiccant also finds use in other applications like thermal swing adsorption, oil filtration, drying and purification of air and natural gases.

Reasons behind the Growing Popularity of Gas Drying Activated Alumina

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Desiccant

Desiccant

The benefits of using Activated Alumina are many. Due to its tunnel-like pores and large surface area, it is the first choice for efficient drying of gases and other liquids. Another advantage is that it will not change shape or composition in extreme situations like corrosive conditions and high temperatures.

The most common use of Activated Alumina is as a desiccant. Its large surface area and high adsorption qualities make it an ideal desiccant. The desiccant works by means of a process known as adsorption. When air, natural gas or liquids that have to be purified pass through the desiccant it pulls back the impurities and only allows the air/gas to pass through. This happens because Activated Alumina desiccant has numerous same-sized pores, which do not allow the passage of large-sized moisture/impurity molecules.

There are many benefits of opting for Activated Alumina as a desiccant. Its high adsorption qualities help in reducing operating costs and brings about lower energy consumption. Another advantage of Activated Alumina is that it can be regenerated and used many times. The desiccant is regenerated by heating it to around 200 degree Celsius. At this temperature, Activated Alumina will lose all the moisture it has adsorbed and then it is ready to be used again.

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Main Applications of Activated Alumina

Main Applications of Activated Alumina

Catalyst applications: One of the major uses of Activated Alumina is for a wide range of catalyst and adsorbent processes. Some of these include adsorption of catalysts in the manufacturing of polyethylene, production of hydrogen peroxide among many others. Activated Alumina also finds use as a selective catalyst for the removal of impurities like arsenic, sulphur and fluoride from natural gas. The use of Activated Alumina protects against harm caused by water and ice formation, corrosion and catalyst contamination in oil, air and natural gas streams.

The main catalyst applications of Activated Alumin are for air conditioners and drying of gases in natural gas industries. Taking a closer look at the hydrogen peroxide production process we can understand the importance of Activated Alumina as a catalyst. The desiccant is employed in the auto-oxidation process, where anthraquinone gets oxidised. The latter then undergoes a reaction to produce peroxide. Next, it is passed through Activated Alumina to remove all impurities.

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Fluoride adsorbent (Water purification):

Fluoride adsorbent (Water purification):

Treatment of drinking water is very important for municipal corporations around the world. The removal of chemical and biological impurities like arsenic, flouride, waste material is very important to ensure that clean water is made available to people. This is where the role of Activated Alumina becomes important. Filters made from Activated Alumina can bring down the fluoride levels in water from 10.0 ppm to below 1.0 ppm. This is much below the dangerous levels of fluoride allowed in water and thus the treated water is now fit for general use.

The amount of fluoride removed from the water depends on the amount of time the water is in contact with the Activated Alumina. The quantity of Activated Alumina filter present in the water is indirectly proportional to the fluoride present. More Alumina leads to lesser presence of fluoride in the water. Additionally, Activated Alumina works best in water having both low temperatures and low pH levels.

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Vacuum System (Air Dryer):

Vacuum System (Air Dryer):

Another use of Activated Alumina is in vacuum systems. They are also known as air dryers. In these vacuum systems, activated alumina is mainly used as a charge material. It is utilized to charge fore-line traps so that oil produced by the rotary vane pumps will not flow back into the vacuum systems. A rotary vane pump is designed in such a manner that it contains numerous vanes placed on a rotating rotor inside a cavity. In most rotary vane pumps, the vanes are found to be of different lengths. They are also tensioned/frictioned so as to touch the walls once the pump starts rotating. This helps in better functioning of the pump.

As the rotary vane pump moves, oil is generated and there are chances that this oil may flow back. Activated Alumina desiccant is mainly used for absorbing acids from the oil, which maybe harmful to the rotary vanes. Activated Alumina is most efficient in eliminating mineral acids, like hydrochloric acid, from the vacuum systems.

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Biomaterial:

Biomaterial:

Another major use of Activated Alumina is as a bio-material. Activated Alumina can withstand most extreme conditions like hot temperatures and corrosive environments as it is highly non-reactive. Combine this with its mechanical characteristics and Activated Alumina becomes one of the most in-demand materials for protecting surfaces during friction. Activated Alumina desiccant also does not offer any reaction to different biological environments so it is the ideal choices for body prostheses. These include hip, shoulder, knee among others.

Another characteristic of Activated Alumina that makes it an ideal biomaterial is its highly insoluble nature. The desiccant does not dissolve in most of the chemical reagents available in the market. Activated Alumina also has top-class resistance and can be polished to secure an excellent surface finish. These qualities are ideal for its use as a biomaterial in artificial joint replacements and hearing aid implants for deaf people. The porous nature of Activated Alumina finds use as “bone spacer” and in teeth implants. Thus, Activated Alumina is of high importance to the prostheses industry.

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