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Adsorption occurs when you have a heterogenous catalyst being used, that is, a catalyst that is in a different phase than the reactants. Usually, adsorption occurs when your catalyst is a solid, and the reactants, rather than going inside or being absorbed by the catalyst, simply sit on top of it as the reaction proceeds.
During lecture, Lavelle talked about how sponges absorb water and catalysts are adsorbing a reactant, meaning the reactant sits on top of the catalyst. There is a slight adhesion when a catalyst adsorbs a reactant. This allows the reactant to detach from the catalyst as the reaction proceeds. Once the detachment occurs, the catalyst is free to move onto the next reactant.
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