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Derivation of adsorption capacity and adsorption isotherm by a single adsorbate concentration in liquid–solid system

Jiaxin Zhang, Jiakun Bai, Meijiao Duan, Jian Yang, and Liujiao Bian

College of Life Science, Northwest University, Xi’an, China



Received: 20 September 2020  Accepted: 16 December 2020


A novel approach was presented as a strategy for deriving adsorption capacity and isotherm by a single adsorbate concentration in the liquid–solid system with experimental proof utilizing frontal chromatography (FC). A breakthrough curve equation presented in this work shows the dependence of adsorbate concentration in feed solution on time in FC and can be used to derive three characteristic binding parameters n (the number of the adsorbates bound to adsorbents), K (the adsorption equilibrium constant of adsorbates) and na (the total number of the adsorption sites). Moreover, the adsorption capacity and isotherm could be derived by a single breakthrough curve, even part of it. The equation was verified with the breakthrough curves of some arene and proteins on reversed-phase, ion-exchange, hydrophobic and affinity media, showing good fitness and consistent with the classical static method and elution peak method. Besides, all the adsorption data were referred to the type I adsorption of the Langmuir isotherm. This work presented new insight that utilizing a single breakthrough curve to determine adsorption parameters and isotherms and may provide some perspective for the determination of physico-chemical property and performance study of very rare substances.

Keywords: Characteristic binding parameter; Adsorption capacity; Adsorption isotherm; Breakthrough curve; Frontal chromatography; Proteins

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-020-01476-9


Chemical Papers 75 (6) 2459–2476 (2021)

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