Why is adsorption always exothermic?
Adsorption is always exothermic. This statement can be explained in two ways.
(i) Adsorption leads to a decrease in the residual forces on the surface of the adsorbent. This causes a decrease in the surface energy of the adsorbent. Therefore, adsorption is always exothermic.
(ii) ΔH of adsorption is always negative. When a gas is adsorbed on a solid surface, its movement is restricted leading to a decrease in the entropy of the gas i.e., ΔS is negative. Now for a process to be spontaneous, ΔG should be negative.
∴ ΔG = ΔH − TΔS
Since ΔS is negative, ΔH has to be negative to make ΔG negative. Hence, adsorption is always exothermic.
When a gas is adsorbed on the surface of a solid, its entropy decreases, i.e., ΔS is negative.
Now, ΔG = ΔH-TΔS For a process to be spontaneous, ΔG must be negative. As here, ΔS is negative, therefore, TΔS is positive ΔG can be negative only if ΔH is negative Hence, adsorption is always exothermic
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