The Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe has been getting world-wide coverage in the mainstream media for the last two weeks as TEPCO made new “revelations” and “admissions” about the flow of contaminated water coming out of the ruins of the nuclear power plant. Although the situation is newsworthy and TEPCO’s handling of the situation has been outrageous, we have to realize that even after these admissions, the narrative about the situation that they are pushing is still false.
* This is not a misspelling of absorption.
Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions, or molecules from a gas, liquid, or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent. This process differs from absorption, in which a fluid (the absorbate) permeates or is dissolved by a liquid or solid (the absorbent). Note that adsorption is a surface-based process while absorption involves the whole volume of the material. The term sorption encompasses both processes, while desorption is the reverse of adsorption. It is a surface phenomenon.