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Seminar on Adsorption : Adsorption

What is adsorption?

The adsorption study has quite a long history. The first document on adsorption is considered to be the study of adsorption behavior of charcoal by Fontana published in 1777. In 1814, N.T. Saussure did a lot of adsorption experiments onto charcoal. Now, his adsorption apparatus is in the exhibition of National Historical Museum in England. The adsorption technology today is widely used in the industrial process (e.g. gas and vapor separation) and characterization of fine materials.



An example of adsorption is visualized in the figure. From the figure, it is unclear that how the chemisorption and physisorption are different. Generally, if the interaction between the adsorbate and adsorbent is strong (e.g. hydrogen bonding or acid-base adsorption) so that the adsorbate cannot be desorbed by vacuuming at the adsorption temperature or room temperature, it is called chemisorption. Physisorption, on the other hand, is the weak interaction mainly due to the van der Waals forces. The adsorbate can be easily desorbed by vacuuming. Recently, instead of using the terms "physisorption" and "chemisorption", "reversible" and "irreversible" adsorption are also used.

Adsorption state

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