Have you ever heard of adsorption? It’s the process of a substance sticking to the surface of another substance. There are two main types of adsorption: physical adsorption and chemical adsorption.
The main difference is that physical adsorption is a surface phenomenon while chemical adsorption involves a chemical reaction.
Before we move to the differences, let’s understand what are Physical Adsorption and Chemical Adsorption:
- Physical Adsorption: Physical adsorption is the process of a gas, liquid, or solid sticking to the surface of a solid through physical forces.
- Chemical Adsorption: Chemical adsorption is the process of a gas, liquid, or solid sticking to the surface of a solid through chemical bonds.
Now, let’s move to Physical Adsorption vs Chemical Adsorption:
Major differences between Physical Adsorption and Chemical Adsorption
|Physical Adsorption||Chemical Adsorption|
|Physical adsorption is a reversible process.||Chemical adsorption is usually irreversible.|
|Physical adsorption occurs at low temperatures.||Chemical adsorption occurs at high temperatures.|
|Physical adsorption is a weak process.||Chemical adsorption is a strong process.|
|Physical adsorption is a physical interaction between the adsorbate and adsorbent.||Chemical adsorption is a chemical interaction.|
|Physical adsorption is a surface phenomenon.||Chemical adsorption involves a chemical reaction.|
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Note that sometimes, the question might also be asked as “distinguish between Physical Adsorption and Chemical Adsorption”.
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Physical adsorption and chemical adsorption are two ways in which a substance can adhere to the surface of another substance.
While physical adsorption occurs through physical forces at low temperatures, chemical adsorption involves a chemical reaction and occurs at high temperatures.
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