AbstractThe aim of this study was to observe the effects of alkaline activating agents on the characteristics, composition, and surface morphology of the designed activated carbons. Activated carbons were prepared by pyrolysis of Acacia mangium wood in the presence of two basic activating agents (calcium oxide and potassium hydroxide). The extent of impregnation ratio of precursor to activating agents was fixed at 2:1(w/w). Prior to pyrolysis, 24 hours soaking was conducted at 348 K. Activation was carried out in a stainless steel capped graphite crucible at 773 K for 2 hours in the absence of purge gas. The burn-off percentage was found to be 70.27±0.93% for CaO activated carbon (COAC) and 73.30±0.20% for KOH activated carbon (PHAC). The activating agents had a strong influence on the surface functional groups as well as elemental composition of these activated carbons. Characterization of the activated carbon obtained was performed with field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and nitrogen adsorption as Brunauer, Emmett and Teller (BET) and Dubinin-Radushkevich (DR) isotherms.