Why do we need to fit real adsorption data with models?
Students often wonder, "Why do we need models when we have real adsorption data instead?" Always trust real data over models,
but there are several reasons for creating models that fit the data. A few that come to mind are listed below:
Models help you understand why the adsorption reaction occurred.
Models let you quantify the number of reactions involved, including those that are in competition with each other.
Models let you quantify the number of reactive surface sites present.
Models let you quantify the retention strength of the adsorption reaction.
Models that do not fit the data will quantifiably warn you about how wrong you are.
A model, that is, can prove your idea wrong.
Look for a new model before others prove you wrong also.
Models that do fit the data well will defend your idea and encourage you to push further with it.
Note, of course, that a model cannot prove your idea is correct;
it only proves that it might be correct based on the present experiments and model fits that you have performed thus far.
Models are generally understood by all scientists.
Models will clearly communicate your ideas on the reaction processes involved.
Thus, models are one of your best tools for presenting your ideas to other scientists.
If a model correctly describes the reaction processes involved,
then this information will also be transferrable to other similar samples.
Ideally it will also allow us to predict results for samples that we do not yet have or are not able to experiment with.