Adsorption of associating molecules in micropores and application to water on carbon



A general theory for the adsorption of self-associating molecules in microporous structures is developed. The approach is similar to the “chemical” interpretation of nonideality of vapor and liquid phases. The theory displays Type 5 isotherm behavior and can explain Types 1 and 5 transition. Isothermal data are represented by only three parameters: Henry's law constant, saturation capacity, and reaction constant for “cluster” formation in the micropores. When isotherms at different temperatures are available, the theory can be used with five temperature-independent parameters to describe the entire phase behavior including the heat of adsorption. Water adsorption on activated carbon, the most common display of Type 5 behavior, is used to test the theory. Analysis of several data sets indicates that the theory can closely correlate data, provide physically meaningful parameter values in line with carbon properties, and it is highly effective in correlating temperature variation. The reaction enthalpy for water dimerization in the carbon micropores is lower than that in vapor phase. This preliminary conclusion with the theory needs to be supported with more accurate data when available.