What is a Ceramic Filter?

Dana DeCecco

A ceramic filter is a device used to filter water. The small pore size of the ceramic material filters dirt, debris, and bacteria from the water. Diatomaceous earth, or clay, is a type of sedimentary rock that is composed of very fine particles that usually makes up this type of filter. The purpose of these filters is to provide clean drinking water that is bacteriologically safe.

A ceramic filter may be used to provide clean water during a natural disaster, like a tornado.
A ceramic filter may be used to provide clean water during a natural disaster, like a tornado.

The most basic type of ceramic filter is in the form of pottery. These vessels are made from a mixture of clay and a combustible material such as sawdust. The ceramic filter pot is formed and fired, burning out the combustibles and leaving fine porous holes in the filter. The unit is then treated with colloidal silver, a liquid suspension of microscopic silver particles. The silver acts as an antiseptic and disinfectant in the water purification process.

A ceramic filter is used to provide safe drinking water in some situations.
A ceramic filter is used to provide safe drinking water in some situations.

Water passing through the ceramic filter vessel is clean and free of bacteria. The filtration procedure is a slow, gravity fed process, but the cost of producing the filter is very inexpensive. The ceramic water filter (CWF) is used on a global scale in areas where unsafe drinking water causes health problems. Many international agencies are involved in the production and distribution of these filters with the goal of offering sustainable access to safe drinking water.

Portable water filtration systems are available for camping and other outdoor activities. The ceramic water filter can provide safe drinking water in emergency situations. Some portable units include water pumps which speed up the process. Emergency filters are used by the military and response teams in times when emergency water might be needed after a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or other disaster.

Candle and cartridge systems are designed to use a ceramic filter shaped like a candle. These filters are typically placed in pressurized water lines and can be used in residential water systems. Countertop and under-the-sink units are self sterilizing for bacteriologically safe cleaning and handling. Replacement cartridges are available, but oftentimes cartridges can be cleaned and reused, providing a cost effective means of water purification.

Ceramic water filter technology removes particles from the water but leaves oxygen and mineral contents unchanged, producing healthy drinking water. The material used to make filters is composed of silica-like sediment resulting from one celled algae deposited millions of years ago. A magnified view reveals a microscopic particle that resembles a porous water filter in itself.

Commercial and industrial applications of the ceramic filter are used in the production of bottled water, beer, wine, and beverage purification. High volume filtration systems deliver pure water without removing the healthy oxygen and natural minerals. The future technology of ceramic filter systems may prove vital due to poor water conditions globally.

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