Definition - What does Adsorbate mean?

An adsorbate is any substance that has undergone adsorption on the surface. During the process of adsorption, charge transfer occurs between the adsorbate and the metal, which in turn results in a dipole moment.

In this process, there is the adhesion of ions, atoms and molecules from liquid, gas and dissolved solids to a particular surface. This results in an adsorbate film on the adsorbent surface. It is the reverse of absorption, where the fluid or absorbate is dissolved by a solid or liquid absorbent.

Corrosionpedia explains Adsorbate

Adsorption is the result of surface energy or surface tension. In bulk materials, the bonding requirements, whether metallic, covalent or ionic, of the element of the atom are filled with other atoms present in the material.

Yet, when atoms on the adsorbent surface are not fully surrounded by others atoms of adsorbent, these atoms could attract adsorbates. The precise nature of this bonding depends on the involved species, but the process of adsorption in general is categorized under covalent bonding or may be brought about by electrostatic attraction.

The process of adsorption can take place in many physical, natural, chemical and biological systems and is typically used in various industrial applications like the production of synthetic resins, activated charcoal and confining or utilizing waste heat to generate cold water to be used in air conditioning and other similar processes.

Adsorbate and the process of adsorption are also beneficial in the pharmaceutical industry as it helps extend the neurological exposure of various drugs. Other than these, adsorption also plays a vital role in preventing corrosion, polymer adsorption and many more industrial and biochemical applications.

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