Ever since I was young, I’ve been afflicted with the desire to take things apart. To see how things work. I suppose that’s what eventually led me down the career path of technical/engineering. Given my affliction, and since I have a Berkey countertop water filter system, I’ve wondered what’s inside those black berkey filter elements.
Well today, I sliced one open…
You may be saying, “Wow, that’s an expensive impulse! Those filters aren’t cheap!”
No, I didn’t destroy a new filter! Awhile ago I had purchased another set of black berkey filter elements since my original set was many years old, and had filtered many thousands of gallons of water. So, perfect opportunity to slice one open…
Note – It’s not how old the filters are — what matters is how much water they have processed. Each filter is said to purify about 3,000 gallons. So, that’s 6,000 gallons for a set of two (which is what’s inside my Berkey).
Do you want to see what it looks like inside? Here’ ya go…
Inside A Sliced Open Black Berkey Filter
Here’s a closer photo of the black material:
The following dimensions aren’t exact. But the overall diameter of the cross-section is about 2-1/4″, while the inside diameter of the ‘hole’ is about 1-1/8″.
Here’s another picture, this one looking down the inside towards the bottom – where the filter is normally secured to the upper water chamber. You can see a spoked support structure at the bottom, helping to stiffen that part of the element – where there are more stresses while assembling.
Black Berkey Filter Element Micro-Pores
I don’t know what the “secret sauce” is, but it looks like carbon. When I cut it open with a hacksaw, it produced extremely fine black carbon powder. There’s other “secret” stuff in there, but that’s their secret I suppose.
They say that the micro-pores are self-sterilizing. You can’t see the pore size with your eyes (of course). They’re incredibly small. So small that pathogenic bacteria are simply not able to pass through them.
The media within the black berkey filter elements remove contaminants by a surface phenomenon known as “absorption”. This results from the molecular attraction of substances to the surface of the media.
Black Berkey Proprietary Absorption
They say that their purification elements are impregnated with proprietary “absorbing” media. “It promotes IONIC absorption of pollutants within the micro-porous elements.”
Long Contact Period
Another reason Berkey systems are so effective in removing contaminants from water is the very long “contact period” with the filter media. Water molecules pass through the “tortuous path” structure of the filter /purification elements drawn by gravity, and stay in contact with the media for a long period of time. This allows the filter media to be more efficient in capturing contaminants.
For example, if you were to hurl 100 steel ball bearings at a large magnet, some would stick but most would bounce off. However, if you were to walk over and gently place the ball bearings on the magnet most, if not all, would adhere to the magnet. Berkey systems fully utilize this principle.
USA Berkey Filters – The Berkey Guy
So, time to plug my advertiser who has been with us since the beginning. If you’re in the market for a set of replacement filters, or a complete system, I do recommend them. Lifetime warranty too.