Thermodynamic modeling of confined fluids using an extension of the generalized van der Waals theory

Leonardo Travalloni, Marcelo Castier, Frederico W. Tavares, Stanley I. Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)


Based on the generalized van der Waals theory, a cubic equation of state (the van der Waals equation) was extended to describe the behavior of pure fluids and mixtures confined in porous solids. Each pore was assumed to be a cylinder with a continuous and homogeneous surface. Fluid molecules were assumed spherical, interacting with each other and with the wall of the pore through square-well potentials. Pairwise additivity was assumed for the attractive parts of all interaction potentials. The repulsive part of the equation of state for confined fluids was modeled based on literature data for the packing of hard spheres in cylinders. The effect of pore size on fluid properties was explicitly represented in the model, allowing its application to both confined and bulk fluids thus providing a consistent description of adsorption systems for all pore sizes. The resulting equation of state has two fitting parameters for each component of the fluid, which are related to the interaction between the fluid molecules and the pore walls. Calculations of pure fluid adsorption were carried out in order to analyze the sensitivity of the model to its fitting parameters and to pore size. It was found that the model is able to describe different types of adsorption isotherms. The model correlated experimental data of pure fluid adsorption quite well and was then used to predict the adsorption of several binary mixtures and one ternary mixture with no additional fitting, with good results. The methodological framework presented here can be extended to other widely used equations of state for modeling confined fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3088-3099
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Adsorption
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Porous media
  • State equation
  • Statistical thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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