Nanoporous Materials

Nanoporous materials include activated carbons, zeolites, aluminas, mesoporous silicas, and metal-organic frameworks. They can be characterized using adsorption but they also find widespread use as adsorbents in industrial applications.

Surface area, pore volume, and pore size distribution can all be determined by analyzing N2 adsorption data. In addition, depending on the material, Ar and CO2 adsorption can provide important complementary information.

When adsorbents are used for separating gases, their adsorption behavior as a function of temperature and pressure must also be characterized, to obtain working capacities, selectivities, and enthalpies of adsorption.

Metal-organic frameworks

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline inorganic-organic solids formed from metal ions or clusters linked by organic bridges. They have been widely investigated in recent years for gas and vapor adsorption applications due to their unique porous properties and tunable structures.

Determining the gas adsorption properties of MOFs is important for application-oriented research, but also for characterizing newly synthesized materials.


Zeolites are crystalline microporous aluminosilicates. They have a range of applications that exploit their ion exchange, molecular sieving and catalytic properties. Gas and vapor adsorption plays a critical role in many of their practical applications, but it can also be used to characterize the properties of new zeolitic materials.

Industrial applications involving the gas and vapor sorption properties of synthetic zeolites include hydrogen, helium and natural gas purification using pressure swing adsorption (PSA), oxygen production from air using PSA, and the separation of hydrocarbons, such as olefins from paraffins, n-paraffins from iso-paraffins and cyclic paraffins from aromatics.

Zeolites are also widely used in heterogeneous catalysis. Adsorption is a fundamental step in such catalytic reactions, while the diffusion (mass transport) rates of both the reactants and products play a key role in the catalytic performance of a particular material.

Example measurements
  • Surface area determination (e.g. BET analysis)
  • Mass transport and uptake kinetics
  • Adsorption thermodynamics
  • Sorption capacity
  • Isotherm hysteresis
  • Gas separation and diffusion

Hiden Isochema instruments have been used extensively to study the adsorption properties of zeolites, MOFs, and other nanoporous materials. The IGA-001 gravimetric analyzer can determine single component gas adsorption, while the IGA-002 can be used for vapor sorption and the IGA-003 and IGA-100 offer gas and vapor mixture capability. XEMIS models such as the XEMIS-001 and XEMIS-002 provide similar function to the equivalent IGA models, with higher pressure operation and compatibility for corrosive species. The IMI-FLOW can be used for flowing gas mixture measurements with a close-coupled quadrupole mass spectrometer from Hiden Analytical, while the ABR is dedicated to the measurement of breakthrough curves for gas separation studies.

Related Instruments
IGA 001

High Accuracy Gravimetric Analyzer, for Precise Characterization of Gas Sorption Equilibria and Kinetics

Automated Breakthrough Analyzer for Gas Separation Measurements

High Pressure Gravimetric Gas Sorption Analyzer, with Corrosive Species Compatibilty

Resources & Downloads
  • Measuring H2, CH4 and SO2 Sorption by Porous Materials Using The XEMIS Microbalance

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