Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions, molecules of gas, liquid, or dissolved solids to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate (the molecules or atoms being accumulated) on the surface of the adsorbent. It differs from absorption, in which a fluidpermeates or is dissolved by a liquid or solid. The term sorption encompasses both processes, while desorption is the reverse of adsorption. It is a surface phenomenon.
Similar to surface tension, adsorption is a consequence of surface energy. In a bulk material, all the bonding requirements (be they ionic,covalent, or metallic) of the constituent atoms of the material are filled by other atoms in the material. However, atoms on the surface of the adsorbent are not wholly surrounded by other adsorbent atoms and therefore can attract adsorbates. The exact nature of the bonding depends on the details of the species involved, but the adsorption process is generally classified as physisorption (characteristic of weak van der Waals forces) or chemisorption (characteristic of covalent bonding). It may also occur due to electrostatic attraction.
Isotherms: Adsorption is usually described through isotherms, that is, the amount of adsorbate on the adsorbent as a function of its pressure (if gas) or concentration (if liquid) at constant temperature. The quantity adsorbed is nearly always normalized by the mass of the adsorbent to allow comparison of different materials. There are basically two well established types of adsorption isotherm: the Freundlich adsorption isotherm and the Langmuir adsorption isotherm.
The Freundlich equation or Freundlich adsorption isotherm is an adsorption isotherm, which is a curve relating the concentration of a solute on the surface of an adsorbent, to the concentration of the solute in the liquid with which it is in contact. In 1909, Freundlich gave an empirical expression representing the isothermal variation of Adsorption of a quantity of gas adsorbed by unit mass of solid adsorbent with pressure. This equation is known as Freundlich Adsorption Isotherm or Freundlich Adsorption equation.
The Freundlich Adsorption Isotherm is mathematically expressed as
It is also written as
log (x/m) = log K +(1/n) log p
x/m = K c 1/n
It is also written as
log (x/m) = log K + (1/n) log c
x = mass of adsorbate
m = mass of adsorbent
p = Equilibrium pressure of adsorbate
c = Equilibrium concentration of adsorbate in solution.
K and n are constants for a given adsorbate and adsorbent at a particular temperature. At high pressure 1/n = 0 Hence extent of adsorption is independent of pressure but at high pressure it is dependent on pressure.
There are some limitations of Freundlich adsorption isotherm. Experimentally it was determined that extent of adsorption varies directly with pressure till saturation pressure Ps is reached. Beyond that point rate of adsorption saturates even after applying higher pressure. Thus Freundlich Adsorption Isotherm failed at higher pressure.
The Langmuir isotherm relates the coverage or adsorption of molecules on a solid surface to gas pressure or concentration of a medium above the solid surface at a fixed temperature. The equation was developed by Irving Langmuir in 1916. The equation is stated as:
4θ or theta is the fractional coverage of the surface, P is the gas pressure or concentration, α alpha is a constant.The constant α is the Langmuir adsorption constant and increases with an increase in the binding energy of adsorption and with a decrease in temperature
There are three modes of operation of adsorptions columns:1. Batch Mode: In the case neither the solid nor the liquid flows. The rate of adsorption of solute, as controlled by external mass transfer is