Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Test Your Basic Activated Carbon Knowledge

By Barbara Sherman, Henry Nowicki, George Nowicki, Wayne Schuliger

Recently we provided a glossary of terms for activated carbon users, suppliers and manufacturers.1 We took the time to prepare that glossary because our experience with clients has shown us that we can help avoid misunderstandings and provide better client services if we are speaking the same language with associated concepts.

In the competitive world, employers can mentor staff through internal and external training. Employers need to reward staff based on their usage and implementation of the provided training on behalf of the firm. During training, the staff needs to get ideas from the marketplace and others in their training classes.

Employers need to ensure that operating-staff are fully trained to accomplish their assignments. Learning about activated carbons in school does not happen: learning in the school-of-hard-knocks is detrimental to business.

New employees should receive well-designed training. The PACS Activated Carbon School is a tool to provide formal structured learning about activated carbons. It is much easier to learn things the right way early in the career. Forming obsolete concepts and opinions about how activated carbons work is deleterious to the employer.

This article includes a set of self-examination questions based on a supplied glossary to test your basic activated carbon knowledge.

After you and/or your staff take the exam below, check the answer key on page 112. We have found this exam to be a good communication tool with new staff.

In our case, new staff members are assigned a mentor. The mentor administers and conducts the exam in a non-threatening and confidential manner. The intended consequence is to ensure that the new staff will quickly find a comfort zone to more readily contribute to the firm and their future career.

We are preparing an expanded glossary of terms, which will be made available later this year. If you would like to add technical definitions to the vocabulary list, please correspond with George Nowicki, the third author of this self-examination to test your basic activated carbon knowledge.

Now, test your knowledge!


  1. George Nowicki et al., Activated Carbon Glossary. Water Conditioning & Purification, February 2008, p. 88-94.

About PACS

Professional Analytical and Consulting Services, Inc. (PACS) is in its third decade of providing activated carbon services and other services to engineers and scientists: laboratory testing, R&D, consulting, training, expert witness services and conferences. PACS hosts the International Activated Carbon Conference and Courses programs in Pittsburgh, PA every October. Information about the firms services are available on its website www.pacslabs.com or by phone at (724)-457-6576.

About the authors

Barbara Sherman, BA and MBA, directs the day-to-day operations for 60 different one to three-day PACS short courses and the bi-annual International Activated Carbon Conference and Courses Program. She can be reached at barb@pacslabs.com. Henry Nowicki, Ph.D. and MBA, provides the introductory course for the Activated Carbon School, “Activated Carbon Adsorption: Principles, Practices, Applications and Opportunities”. Dr. Nowicki directs the day-to-day testing and consulting services for PACS. He can be reached by phone at (724) 457-6576 or by e-mail at henry@pacslabs.com. H. George Nowicki III, BS and BA, is a laboratory technician and new business developer for PACS. He can be reached by phone at (724) 457-6576 or by e-mail at georgepacs@aol.com. Wayne Schuliger, P.E., provides the PACS short course, “Design, Operation and Trouble Shooting Activated Carbon Adsorption Systems”. He utilizes his 40 years of activated carbon adsorption engineering experiences to help solve client problems. Schuliger can be reached by e-mail at waynepacs@aol.com.



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