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  • Absorption is the process in which a fluid is dissolved by a liquid or a solid (absorbent).
  • Adsorption is the process in which atoms, ions or molecules from a substance (it could be gas, liquid or dissolved solid) adhere to a surface of the adsorbent. Adsorption is a surface-based process where a film of adsorbate is created on the surface while absorption involves the entire volume of the absorbing substance. There are some adsorption analyzers (eg V-Sorb 2800P) by using gas (like N2, Kr etc) as adsorbates to attach on materials to get samples adsorption isotherms, then to know surface area, pore size and so on data.

Adsorption: Some of the industrial applications for adsorption are air-conditioning, adsorption chillers, synthetic resin and water purification. An adsorption chiller does not require moving parts and hence is quiet. In pharmaceutical industry applications, adsorption is used as a means to prolong neurological exposure to specific drugs or parts thereof. Adsorption of molecules onto polymer surfaces is used in various applications such as in the development of non-stick coatings and in various biomedical devices.

Absorption: The common commercial uses of absorption cycle are absorption chillers for space cooling applications, ice production, cold storage, turbine inlet cooling. High efficiency operation, environmentally friendly refrigerants, clean-burning fuels and few moving parts that require maintenance make absorption a very good choice for consumers. The process of gas absorption by a liquid is used in hydrogenation of oils and carbonation of beverages.

Answer 1 Adsorption and absorption are two different things.

  • Absorption is the chemical integration of one chemical into another. When you drink a glass of water, you are absorbing it, as the water becomes part of you.
  • Adsorption occurs when one substance holds another via physical bonds. If you spill a glass of water on your shirt, it is adsorbed as the fibres will hold the water until heat dries out the shirt.
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Q: What is the difference between absorption and adsorption?
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