Adsorption of binary gas mixtures in heterogeneous carbon predicted by density functional theory: on the formation of adsorption azeotropes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Classical density functional theory (DFT) was used to predict the adsorption of nine different binary gas mixtures in a heterogeneous BPL activated carbon with a known pore size distribution (PSD) and in single, homogeneous, slit-shaped carbon pores of different sizes. By comparing the heterogeneous results with those obtained from the ideal adsorbed solution theory and with those obtained in the homogeneous carbon, it was determined that adsorption nonideality and adsorption azeotropes are caused by the coupled effects of differences in the molecular size of the components in a gas mixture and only slight differences in the pore sizes of a heterogeneous adsorbent. For many binary gas mixtures, selectivity was found to be a strong function of pore size. As the width of a homogeneous pore increases slightly, the selectivity for two different sized adsorbates may change from being greater than unity to less than unity. This change in selectivity can be accompanied by the formation of an adsorption azeotrope when this same binary mixture is adsorbed in a heterogeneous adsorbent with a PSD, like in BPL activated carbon. These results also showed that the selectivity exhibited by a heterogeneous adsorbent can be dominated by a small number of pores that are very selective toward one of the components in the gas mixture, leading to adsorption azeotrope formation in extreme cases.

published proceedings

  • Langmuir

author list (cited authors)

  • Ritter, J. A., Pan, H., & Balbuena, P. B.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Ritter, James A||Pan, Huanhua||Balbuena, Perla B

publication date

  • September 2010