This is not Spitfire specific, but general with regards to the carbon
The white stuff is usually some sort of foberglass matt. It's purpose
is to basically hold the charcoal in place. It also can handle liquid
slop until it evaporates. A cheap package of bondo fiberglass cloth
or matt will do just fine as replacement.
The charcoal is activated charcoal. The same stuff that is used in
fish filters. The fish filter charcoal may not be as activiated (less
pores), but it will work fine.
Interestingly, the working life of a charcoal cannister is measured
in minutes. The pores in the charcoal get filled up with hydrocarbon
molecules (gasoline vapors). At that point, the charcoal can
no longer functions. The only way to get the hydrocarbon
molecules out of the charcoal is with high vacuum and or
heat. Neither of which is adequately supplied in an automobile.
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