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Activated carbon and Silica gel both have a high surface area.

If I understand correctly it is possible to trap stuff inside activated charcoal pores to give it specific retention properties (by exposing it to functionalizing conpounds while heated to open up the pores?).

Is it possible to likewise trap stuff in silica gel pores? What can be trapped in there and how is this done?

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Yes, silica gel can be modified to make its adsorption more specific. E.G., epichlorohydrin dimethyl amine copolymer (Epi-DMA) can be used to make silica gel effective for adsorbing anionic dyes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can it be modified with the same stuff as AC (NaOH/KOH/CaCl2/ZnCl2/H3PO4/etc.)? Can it also be done by warming it up with the impregnated substance that is to functionalize it? If so at which temperatures? $\endgroup$ – Hans May 10 at 22:39

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