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BET Surface Area Analysis for Catalyst Analysis

Catalysis refers to the acceleration of a distinct chemical reaction using a catalytic agent. It has been an integral process in a range of industrial sectors for decades and is attracting interest from fields looking to reduce emissions and tackle issues pertaining to sustainability. The primary consumers of catalytic materials worldwide are chemical manufacturers, petrochemical facilities, and automotive engineers. They significantly impact everyday life with regards to health and wellbeing, as well as the cost of energy and consumer goods.

BET Surface Area and Catalysis

Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) theory is one of the primary models used to assess the specific surface area (m2/g) of powders, including catalytic samples for material characterisation and quality control (QC) practises. BET surface area analysers determine the total surface area of a solid by suspending a powdered analyte in an inert gaseous bath and measuring the adsorption of gas molecules to the surface and its porous structures. This can be measured volumetrically or via a continuous flow.

Surface area is an important parameter for catalytic activity, particularly for heterogeneous catalysts that are not in the same phase as the reactant species. It can determine the performance of solid catalysts that are expected to extract harmful gaseous compounds from emissions or reduce the toxicity of emitted vapours through oxidation. BET surface area analysis is routinely used to determine catalyst adsorption rates and optimise the gas-solid interface of end-products.

BET surface area analysers may conduct single- or multi-point measurements and treat data according to BET theory’s adsorption isotherm equation. This is done to ensure linearity in a relative pressure range.

The Horiba SA-9600 is a user-friendly BET surface area analyser that is equipped for high throughput single-point surface area measurements. It offers a highly automated measuring capability for characterisation of multiple analytes’ surface areas for qualitative assessments of catalytic activity. It is also suitable for multi-point measurements of samples under concurrent gas mixtures, providing quantitative assessments of total surface area from 0.1 – 50m2.

Characterising Commercial Catalysts

Consumers are most likely to encounter catalytic materials in the automotive space. In the 1970s, stricter regulations on exhaust emissions worldwide resulted in the widespread adoption of catalytic converters designed to oxidize harmful gases and reduce vehicle emissions to acceptable standards. Precious metals have been used to oxidise harmful species like carbon monoxide (CO), but novel auto engineers are increasingly concerned with installing cheaper and more efficient catalysts in both consumer and industrial spaces.

BET surface area analysis is crucial for this innovative trajectory, providing rapid and highly repeatable quantification of a sample’s surface area through static gas dosing.

BET Surface Area Analysers from Meritics

Meritics is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of instruments for particle size, distribution, and surface area analysis. We offer a limited range of BET surface area analysers suitable for catalyst characterisation and bioavailability assesments of pharmaceutical active ingredients.

If you would like any more information about our BET surface area analysers, please do not hesitate to contact us.