Activated carbon fibers are prepared from general purpose carbon fibers by a heat treatment in order to achieve a high level of porosity. It is used in filters, face masks, for air purification. Activated carbon is derived from charcoal. It has the name because its surface area is very large as compared to its size. A chemical reaction takes place very easily as the surface area is huge. It is of porous nature and has high adsorption capacity. Activated carbon fiber also referred to as ACF, is a hybrid of activated carbon and carbon fiber. Raw materials for activated carbon fiber are cellulose, polyacrylonitrile, phenolic resin, pitch fibers and others. Activated carbon fiber has speedy adsorption or desorption, good volumetric capacity and high packing density. It is considered very absorbent as well due to the absence of macropores and very few mesopores. Activation process increases existing pores and creates new ones as well. Its cost is somewhat high but so are its applications. It is used in electrochemical applications, medical application, heavy metal removal, catalysis etc.
Due to increasing cognizance among the general population regarding pollution and its ill effects, people rely on air purification, treatment of wastewater, etc. for which activated carbon fibers are used. This is supposed to increase demand for activated carbon fiber. In addition to these Industrial applications of activated carbon fiber are on the rise which is expected to boost the demand for Activated Carbon Fiber market.
Furthermore, taking into account its advantages such as high adsorption capacity, good packing density, ease of handling etc. it is mainly used in purification or recovery of chemicals. This is expected to fuel market growth as the scope of these industries is very large.
However, fluctuation in availability of raw materials required for manufacturing activated carbon fiber could hinder market growth. Cost of processing activated carbon fiber is an important aspect as each material has different properties. Nonetheless, the fixed scope for advancement in activated carbon fiber applications is expected to drive growth during the forecasted period.