Differentiating Quality of Bamboo Charcoal


In the recent years, bamboo charcoal products natural characteristic and special health beneficial function has gone unnoticed by many consumers. Bamboo charcoal quality is strongly related to the bamboo material selection, storage and handling, carbonisation temperature and carbonisation techniques. Good quality bamboo charcoal can be beneficial to consumers but most of the present bamboo charcoal products in the market have large gap in quality standards.

The general consumer has difficultly in recognising the good and bad quality bamboo charcoal products. For the benefit of consumers to enjoy the true benefits of bamboo charcoal and to help consumers overcome the problem of purchasing inferior bamboo charcoal products, we will discuss some of simple methods of differentiation.

In general, the extent to which the electrical resistance is reduced and the more dehydrated the bamboo charcoal, the higher quality is the bamboo charcoal. This can also be observed in the microstructure of the bamboo charcoal under the microscope.

Good quality bamboo charcoal can be tested using simple test techniques by anyone at home with simple instruments for

1. Electrical Conductivity (visible through electrical multimeter or circuit test)
2. Absorptive Power with Decomposition Capability (visible through water test)
3. Electromagnetic Wave Absorption (visible through EM wave meter test)
4. Weight (Volume to Weight Ratio)

Electrical Test

Good quality bamboo charcoal carbonisation process is more complete and thus encourages high degree of graphite formation, which gives it good electrical conductivity. On average, the electrical conductivity for good quality bamboo charcoal is below 10 ohms. Bad quality bamboo charcoal usually does not conduct electricity well with some occurrences of low electrical conductivity. Usually, electrical resistance range from 150 ohms to 3 Mega Ohms.

Bamboo charcoal burnt at 800 °c and above will conduct electricity very well. From a simple electrical test of the electrical conductivity or resistance, we can determine the refining (critical final processing) temperature of the bamboo charcoal. The result shows a very low resistance of about 9 ohm (metal-like property) across granulated bamboo charcoals in a Taketaro normal charcoal pack; this include the air resistance between individual granules. If they are tested individually, lower resistance is expected.

Taketaro bamboo charcoal’s electrical conductivity result is very close to Japanese White Charcoal, reputed for best in electrical conductivity. Test result indicates high temperature processing of Taketaro bamboo charcoal and thus it is suitable for electromagnetic wave reduction and far infrared ray emission.

Other Differentiation Method: Light Bulb

Using a torchlight/light bulb (low voltage D.C) with 2 electrical ends open connected with electrical wires. Place the wires into the bamboo charcoal pack, the torchlight/light bulb lights up brightly for good quality bamboo charcoal. For poor quality bamboo charcoal, the there is no light or very dim light.

Poor Quality Bamboo Charcoal Slice (No Light)

Good Quality Bamboo Charcoal Slice (Bright Light)

Poor Quality Bamboo Charcoal Pack (No Light)

Good Quality Bamboo Charcoal Pack (Bright Light)

Water Test

The surface area of high quality bamboo charcoal is higher than poorer ones. Thus, the absorptive power is much stronger than poor quality bamboo charcoal. Good quality bamboo charcoal also has very strong decomposition capability to various organic matter whereas the poor quality bamboo charcoal basically has no decomposition capability.

Initial Conditions (Contaminated Water)

Granulated bamboo charcoal is being poured in. Slight effervescence can be seen from individual granules, indicating absorption power of the charcoal.

As more bamboo charcoal is being poured in, more absorption power is achieved, which displays a cloudy appearance. This is due to high effervescence rate.This indicates high absorption rate of water and rapid release of air from the ‘storage spaces’ or pores of the bamboo charcoal.

After 15mins of bamboo charcoal absorption action, granulated bamboo charcoal are removed, the final comparison shows that the contamination is reduced and water quality is improved.
High absorption rate is related to high temperature burning of bamboo charcoal. Test result indicates high temperature processing of Taketaro bamboo charcoal and thus it is suitable for absorbing odour, moisture and toxic gases and releasing negative ions.


Electromagnetic Wave Absorption Test

During the high temperature carbonisation process, good quality bamboo charcoal changes to a special structure with very good electromagnetic (EM) wave absorption. Whereas for poor quality bamboo charcoal, the formation of carbon fibre is incomplete leading to poor EM wave absorption power. 

Bamboo charcoal’s electrical property is directly related to its temperature of treatment. Good quality bamboo charcoal causes electromagnetic waves like radio waves to be attracted to it due to its low electrical resistance. When the electromagnetic waves are attracted to the bamboo charcoal, its energy begins to be dissipated inside and eventually get drained due to its internal porous structure.

Taketaro bamboo charcoal’s electrical conductivity result is very close to Japanese White Charcoal, reputed for best in electrical conductivity.

Our Japanese Bamboo Charcoal Slices were being tested on the EM waves emitted from the laptop. A reading recorded 0.2 mW/cm2 from the laptop during normal operations. After a slice of Japanese Bamboo Charcoal was placed in front of the computer screen, the reading recorded a reduced value 0.09 mW/cm2 on the Microwave/Radiowave Scale.

Radiowave Radiation Reading From A Laptop

Radiowave Radiation Reading From A Laptop
(With Japanese Bamboo Charcoal Slice Placed
In Front of LCD Display)

In a handphone radiowave radiation testing, the highest radiowave was registered when the handphone receives a call. It reads about 0.3 mW/cm2 on the lower scale of the meter. Then a small Taketaro bamboo charcoal pack was placed below the handphone, the measurement reads 0.1 mW/cm2. Some studies suggests that biological effect can occur at 0.1 mW/cm2 onwards, therefore any personal exposure should be minimized.

Radiowave Radiation Reading When A Call Was Received

Radiowave Radiation Reading When A Call Was Received
(Small Bamboo Charcoal Pack Placed Below Handphone)

Other Differentiation Method:

Place a connected or ringing handphone near a CRT T.V or computer monitor. There will be lines or signal disturbance on the display. Hold a good quality bamboo charcoal pack together with the handphone will eliminate the disturbances. While for the poor quality bamboo charcoal, the signal disturbance can still be obviously seen.  


Weight (Volume to Weight Ratio) Test

High quality bamboo charcoal should be light in weight due to its high temperature treatment where water is well dehydrated and pores properly formed. Due to the water dehydration and pores formed (more pockets/pores containing air which makes the bamboo charcoal light), the bamboo charcoal should have a high volume to weight ratio. This means that for the same weight of bamboo charcoal, the high quality bamboo charcoal appears to be bigger in size when packed in a bag.

Volume to Weight Comparison
(Same Weight for Both Pack)


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