ASTM D4641 - 12

    Standard Practice for Calculation of Pore Size Distributions of Catalysts and Catalyst Carriers from Nitrogen Desorption Isotherms

    Active Standard ASTM D4641 | Developed by Subcommittee: D32.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.05


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    Significance and Use

    Pore volume distribution curves obtained from nitrogen sorption isotherms provide one of the best means of characterizing the pore structure in porous catalysts, provided that the limitations of the method are kept in mind. Used in conjunction with the BET treatment for surface area determination (4), these methods provide an indispensable means for studying the structure associated with pores usually important in catalysts. This practice is particularly useful in studying changes in a series of closely related samples caused by treatments, such as heat, compression, or extrusion often used in catalyst manufacturing. Pore volume distribution curves can often provide valuable information during mechanistic studies dealing with catalyst deactivation.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers the calculation of pore size distributions for catalysts and catalyst carriers from nitrogen desorption isotherms. The computational procedure is particularly useful for determining how the pore volume is distributed in catalyst samples containing pores whose sizes range from approximately 1.5 to 100 nm (15 to 1000 ?) in radius. It should be used with caution when applied to isotherms for samples containing pores both within this size range and pores larger than 100 nm (1000 ?) in radius. In such instances the isotherms rise steeply near P/Po = 1 and the total pore volume cannot be well defined. The calculations should be begun at a point on the isotherm near saturation preferably in a region near P/Po = 0.99, establishing an upper limit on the pore size distribution range to be studied. Simplifications are necessary regarding pore shape. A cylindrical pore model is assumed, and the method treats the pores as non-intersecting, open-ended capillaries which are assumed to function independently of each other during the adsorption or desorption of nitrogen.

    Note 1—This practice is designed primarily for manual computation and a few simplifications have been made for this purpose. For computer computation, the simplified expressions may be replaced by exact expressions.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D3766 Terminology Relating to Catalysts and Catalysis

    D4222 Test Method for Determination of Nitrogen Adsorption and Desorption Isotherms of Catalysts and Catalyst Carriers by Static Volumetric Measurements


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 71.040.30 (Chemical reagents)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D4641-12

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