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Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2003 Sep 18;105:151-75.

A review of the different techniques for solid surface acid-base characterization.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, Box 351750, Seattle, WA 98195-1750, USA.


In this work, various techniques for solid surface acid-base (AB) characterization are reviewed. Different techniques employ different scales to rank acid-base properties. Based on the results from literature and the authors' own investigations for mineral oxides, these scales are compared. The comparison shows that Isoelectric Point (IEP), the most commonly used AB scale, is not a description of the absolute basicity or acidity of a surface, but a description of their relative strength. That is, a high IEP surface shows more basic functionality comparing with its acidic functionality, whereas a low IEP surface shows less basic functionality comparing with its acidic functionality. The choice of technique and scale for AB characterization depends on the specific application. For the cases in which the overall AB property is of interest, IEP (by electrokinetic titration) and H(0,max) (by indicator dye adsorption) are appropriate. For the cases in which the absolute AB property is of interest such as in the study of adhesion, it is more pertinent to use chemical shift (by XPS) and the heat of adsorption of probe gases (by calorimetry or IGC).

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