- Absorption – "the incorporation of a substance in one state into another of a different state" (e.g., liquids being absorbed by a solid or gases being absorbed by a liquid);
- Adsorption – the physical adherence or bonding of ions and molecules onto the surface of another phase (e.g., reagents adsorbed to a solid catalyst surface);
- Ion exchange – an exchange of ions between two electrolytes or between an electrolyte solution and a complex.
The reverse of sorption is desorption.
The adsorption and absorption rate of a diluted solute in gas or liquid solution to a surface or interface can be calculated using Fick's laws of diffusion.
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