A revisit to the Gibbs dividing surfaces and helium adsorption

L. Herrera, Chunyan Fan, D. D. Do, D. Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the long-standing problem of the so-called Gibbs dividing surface and the use of helium as a "non-adsorbing" gas for the determination of the "helium"-void volume and thence the Gibbs excess. Using helium is subject to some uncertainty because helium does adsorb (to call it a non-adsorbing gas is misleading) and it is able to access pore spaces that other larger adsorbates cannot. On the other hand, even helium atoms can not physically probe all the space described by the helium-void volume. To avoid these difficulties, we suggest an alternative to the formulation of the Gibbs dividing surface and the definition of the excess amount. We illustrate this with the two common tools to study adsorption - the volumetric and gravimetric techniques, and justify our new analysis with a computer simulation of a number of model adsorption systems. Furthermore, we also show that by using the correct accessible volume and inaccessible volume the excess amount obtained from a volumetric experiment is exactly the same as that obtained from a gravimetric experiment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-965
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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