Difference Between Physical and Chemical Adsorption

Physical and Chemical Adsorption:

PropertyPhysical Adsorption or PhysisorptionChemical Adsorption or Chemisorption
Nature of ForcesWeak Van der Waal’s forces are present.Strong chemical forces are present.
Heat of AdsorptionThe heats of adsorption are low viz. about 20-40 kJ mol−1.The heats of adsorption are high viz. about 40-400 kJ mol−1.
Effect of TemperatureUsually occur at low temperature and decreases with the increase in temperature.Occur at high temperature and may or may not decreases with the increase in temperature.
Effect of PressureThe rate of increase in adsorption with pressure is much higher at high pressure.The rate of increase in adsorption usually decreases as the pressure increases.
ReversibilityReversible in nature.Irreversible in nature.
SpecificityIt is not specific in nature i.e. all gases are adsorbed on all solids to some extent.It is specific in nature and occurs only when there is some possibility of compound formation between the gas being adsorbed and the solid adsorbent.
Activation EnergyInvolves very small activation energy.Generally involves high activation energy.
Formation of Surface CompoundsNo surface compound is formed.Surface compounds are formed.

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