skip to content

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology





Molecules within Porous Solids

I have a general interest in how molecules behave within porous solids. The property of interest might be adsorption. Where are the adsorption sites? What is the binding strength? How can they be measured? How can they be predicted? The property of interest might be diffusion. What is the rate of molecular transport within the solid? How can it be measured? How can it be predicted? The work has relevance to heterogeneous catalysis and gas separations processes. In the case of heterogeneous catalysts, I am also interested in how chemical reactions and coke formation influence adsorption, transport and selectivity.
Recent experimental work has used both spectroscopic (NMR, IR, Raman) and gravimetric techniques (tapered element oscillating microbalance) to look at adsorption and diffusion. Numerical modelling of experimental results is performed as necessary in order to extract physically meaningful parameters from the experimental data.
Current work is being performed on the analysis of temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) data. How can the best distribution of activation energies for desorption be extracted from experimental TPD data for a heterogeneous solid? If the solid is porous, how can allowance for the effects of internal diffusion and readsorption best be incorporated within simulations of the TPD experiment?
Future work is likely to continue in the above areas, and also to include the thermodynamics of adsorbed mixtures. This affects not only the overall adsorption isotherm for the mixture, but also the diffusion coefficients of the components.


FRSC, CChem, FIChemE, CEng, FHEA

BA, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 1987

MA, University of Cambridge, 1991

PhD, Physical Chemistry, University of Cambridge, 1991


Key publications: 

1. P.J. Barrie, "The mathematical origins of the kinetic compensation effect: 1. the effect of random experimental errors". Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 14, 318-326, 2012.

2. P.J. Barrie, "The mathematical origins of the kinetic compensation effect: 2. the effect of systematic errors". Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 14, 327-336, 2012.

3. P.J. Barrie, "Analysis of temperature programmed desorption (TPD) data for the characterization of catalysts containing a distribution of adsorption sites". Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 10, 1688-1696, 2008.

4. C.K. Lee, L.F. Gladden and P.J. Barrie, "TEOM studies on the adsorption of p-xylene in coked FCC catalysts at 473 K: observation of coke promoting chemical reaction". Applied Catalysis A: General, 274, 267-272, 2004.

5. P.J. Barrie, C.K. Lee and L.F. Gladden, "Adsorption and desorption kinetics of hydrocarbons in FCC catalysts studied using a tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM). Part 2: numerical simulations". Chemical Engineering Science, 59, 1139-1151, 2004.

6. P.J. Barrie, "Characterization of porous media using NMR methods". Annual Reports on NMR Spectroscopy, 41, 265-316, 2000.

Director of Education (School of Technology)
Associate Professor

Contact Details

01223 (3)31864
Email address: 


Person keywords: