8 Examples of Adsorption in Daily Life

Accumulation of a substance over the surface of the other is known as adsorption. This surface phenomenon usually relies upon having two constituents, namely adsorbate and adsorbent. The adsorbent is the solid substance that allows the other matter to get settled over its surface, whereas adsorbate is the entity that gets deposited over the surface and is usually gaseous or liquid in nature.



We have often witnessed a lot of adsorption related activities subconsciously in our daily life. Here are a few of them, check them out and try to relate if you missed any of these during your routine tasks.

1. Silica and Aluminium Gel

Ever wondered why there is always a small packet of silica gel kept in almost all the new items we purchase? Its main purpose is to help keep the moisture out by allowing the moisture vapours to get adsorbed over the surface of silica or aluminium gel particles. So next time, you may consider saving those tiny packets to use later as drying agents.

Silica and Aluminium Gel

2. Pollution Masks

Amid this pandemic, masks have become an extended part of our body. If you ever try to cut open a pollution mask, you shall find it consists of two or more layers of fabric, and between the layers exists activated carbon granules or a filter sheet, which serves as a purifier. It allows clean air to reach our nostrils by adsorbing the dust and smoke particles. The activated carbon element or the filter sheet is the adsorbent, while the dust and smoke particles are adsorbates.

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3. Curing the Disease

It should not be surprising at all to tell that adsorption is used in curing many diseases. The disease-causing germs get deposited on the surface of the drug taken against it, which later gets ejected from the body through natural processes.

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4. Charcoal Gas Masks

The masks used in mining or other related activities are required to be designed with the utmost efficiency and care because the personnel working there have to deal with toxic and poisonous gases. In such applications, the manufacturers make use of adsorption properties of substances like charcoal to filter out the unwanted gases or hazardous fumes to avoid any dangerous outcoming.

5. Purification of Water (alum)

Another common example of adsorption is when you purify water using alum. During this process, a small piece of alum is inserted in water and is allowed to rest. A little later, you can observe the impurities getting combined to form a large cluster. Now, one can easily remove it by various separation methods, such as sedimentation, sieving, etc.

6. Removing Hardness From Water

Removing hardness from water signifies removing elements like calcium and magnesium for they make water hard. Usually, these elements can easily be removed by the process of ion exchange in which the cation/anion resins are added to water, the hardness causing elements get stick to the resins and can be filtered out easily. Finally, providing us with softened water.

Ion Exchange Process


7. Misty Windows

Every night a layer of water vapours gets deposited on the surface of windows, which is more prominently visible during cold weather. This is yet another example of adsorption from daily life. Therefore, the next time you write your name on the fog deposited on your windowpane, give thanks to the wonderful phenomenon of adsorption.

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8. Decoloring Of Matter

A lot of entities get contaminated due to the presence of impurities around them. This contamination leads to a colour change that may be compensated by placing them in a decolorizing solution, such as fullers earth or charcoal solution. The impurities get deposited or dissolved in the solution, leaving the entities decoloured.

Decoloring Of Matter

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