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Adsorptive Capacity and Evolution of the Pore Structure of Alumina on Reaction with Gaseous Hydrogen Fluoride

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journal contribution
posted on 19.05.2015, 00:00 by Grant J. McIntosh, Gordon E. K. Agbenyegah, Margaret M. Hyland, James B. Metson
Brunauer–Emmet–Teller (BET) specific surface areas are generally used to gauge the propensity of uptake on adsorbents, with less attention paid to kinetic considerations. We explore the importance of such parameters by modeling the pore size distributions of smelter grade aluminas following HF adsorption, an industrially important process in gas cleaning at aluminum smelters. The pore size distributions of industrially fluorinated aluminas, and those contacted with HF in controlled laboratory trials, are reconstructed from the pore structure of the untreated materials when filtered through different models of adsorption. These studies demonstrate the presence of three distinct families of pores: those with uninhibited HF uptake, kinetically limited porosity, and pores that are surface blocked after negligible scrubbing. The surface areas of the inaccessible and blocked pores will overinflate estimates of the adsorption capacity of the adsorbate. We also demonstrate, contrary to conventional understanding, that porosity changes are attributed not to monolayer uptake but more reasonably to pore length attenuation. The model assumes nothing specific regarding the Al2O3–HF system and is therefore likely general to adsorbate/adsorbent phenomena.