Adsorption of dimethyl ether (DME) on zeolite molecular sieves

Jai B. Lad, Yassir T. Makkawi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years there has been growing interest in the use of dimethyl ether (DME) as an alternative fuel. In this study, the adsorption of DME on molecular sieves 4Å (Mol4A) and 5Å (Mol5A) has been experimentally investigated using the volumetric adsorption method. Data on the adsorption isotherms, heats of adsorption, and adsorption kinetic have been obtained and used to draw conclusions and compare the performance of the two adsorbents. Within the conditions considered, the adsorption capacity of Mol5A was found to be around eight times higher than the capacity of Mol4A. Low temperature adsorption and thermal pre-treatment of the adsorbents in vacuum were observed to be favourable for increased adsorption capacity. The adsorption isotherms for both adsorbent were fitted to the Freundlich model and the corresponding model parameters are proposed. The adsorption kinetic analysis suggest that the DME adsorption on Mol5A is controlled by intracrystalline diffusion resistance, while on Mol4A it is mainly controlled by surface layering resistance with the diffusion only taking place at the start of adsorption and for a very limited short time. The heats of adsorption were calculated by a calorimetric method based on direct temperature measurements inside the adsorption cell. Isosteric heats, calculated by the thermodynamic approach (Clasius-Clapeyron equation), have consistently shown lower values. The maximum heat of adsorption was found to be 25.9kJmol-1 and 20.1kJmol-1 on Mol4A and Mol5A, respectively; thus indicating a physisorption type of interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-346
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date8 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Chemical engineering journal. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Lad, J. B., & Makkawi, Y. T. Adsorption of dimethyl ether (DME) on zeolite molecular sieves. Chemical engineering journal, Vol. 256 (2014)

Funding: EPSRC CASE EP/J501797/1


  • adsorption
  • adsorption kinetics
  • DME
  • heat of adsorption
  • isotherm
  • molecular sieves


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