Difference between Physisorption and Chemisorption

There are many ways to get water from the ground, but if you’re looking for a more efficient and environmentally friendly method, you should know that there are two main types of moisture extraction: physisorption and chemisorption.

The main difference between is physisorption happens when a substance chemically bonds with another at the molecular level while chemisorption occurs when there is no chemical bond but rather an electron transfer.

Before we move to the differences, let’s understand what are Physisorption and Chemisorption:

  • Physisorption: Physisorption is a type of surface reaction that occurs when molecules of a gas or liquid adhere to the surface of a solid surface.
  • Chemisorption: Chemisorption is the bonding of one substance with another through chemical reactions.

Physisorption vs Chemisorption

Now, let’s move to Physisorption vs Chemisorption:

Major differences between Physisorption and Chemisorption

Physisorption Chemisorption
The adsorbents in physisorption are generally organic compounds. The adsorbents used in chemisorption can be organic or inorganic compounds.
Physisorption, the gas molecules interact with the solid surface without reacting chemically. Chemisorption is when a chemical reaction occurs between the molecules of gas and a solid surface.
In physisorption, there is no change in molecular structure. In chemisorption, there is a change in molecular structure.
In physisorption, adsorbates retain their identity. In chemisorption, adsorbates may react with each other or with the substrate.
In physisorbed systems, all adsorbates have an equal chance at occupying any site on the substrate. In chemisored systems, some sites may be more favorable than others and will therefore be occupied before others can be filled up completely.


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That’s it.

Note that sometimes, the question might also be asked as “distinguish between Physisorption and Chemisorption”.

Also see:

Final words

So we can conclude that physisorption is the process of adsorption where molecules are attracted to a surface by purely physical forces, while chemisorption is the process of adsorption where molecules are attracted to a surface by chemical bonding.

You can view other “differences between” posts by clicking here.

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09/24/2023 11:03 am GMT


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