How to Appropriately Characterize the BET Area of a Microporous Material

Microporous materials are defined as materials containing pores that have diameters less than 2 nm. An important characteristic of all porous materials is the surface area, commonly calculated utilizing the BET equation. However for a microporous material, the BET equation in its classical sense provides erroneous results. This report discusses its importance and the appropriate measures to accurately calculate the BET area of microporous materials.

Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) is the most widely used method to evaluate the surface area of porous material.

The BET equation is applicable for surface area analysis of nonporous, macro-, and mesoporous materials (with sufficiently large pores) and is applied in the relative pressure range P/P0 from 0.05 – 0.3. However, this method is, in a strict sense, not applicable in the case of microporous adsorbents – a critical appraisal of the BET method is given in various textbooks on porosity measurement.

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