What is Absorption?
Absorption refers to the process in which one substance permeates or penetrates another substance. The absorbing material is taking in the absorbed substance into its volume. This is often seen in the context of liquids or gases being absorbed by a solid or liquid. For example, a sponge absorbs water, with the water molecules being drawn into the structure of the sponge.
What is Adsorption?
On the other hand, adsorption involves the adhesion of molecules or atoms to the surface of another material. Unlike absorption, adsorption does not involve the penetration of the adsorbate (the substance being adsorbed) into the bulk of the adsorbent (the material on which adsorption occurs). Activated charcoal, for instance, is renowned for its adsorptive properties, attracting and holding gas molecules on its surface.
In summary, the primary distinction between absorption and adsorption lies in the penetration of one substance into another. Absorption involves the complete integration of the absorbed substance into the absorbing material. While adsorption involves the attaching of the adsorbate onto the surface of the adsorbent without significant penetration. Both processes play crucial roles in air filtration.