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Every adsorbent has a saturation capacity depending on its active surface area. The idea to replace carbon filter is not only due to the saturation capacity but imagine fungi, bacteria may be adsorbed as well. It is worth replacing.

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Is this something that has been explored in research? Definitely yes, and the keywords you're looking for are: adsorption, desorption, and fluid transport in porous media. Activated carbon is a nanoporous material with high specific surface area, and the kinetics of adsorption, desorption and transport in liquid phase in such media are well understood from ...

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First, typically only high concentrations of chloride will interfere with the colorimetric test...I assume you are using NitraVer or something similar? If you aren't using seawater (i.e., $\ce{Cl-} \gt \pu{100 mg/L}$) then you will be okay. But, let's say you are using seawater. There is an easy solution, simply make your standards in an aqueous matrix ...

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