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How reproducible are surface areas calculated from the BET equation?



Johannes W. Osterreith, James Rampersad, David Madden, Nakul Rampal, Luka Skoric, Bethany Connolly, Rob Ameloot, Joao Marreiros, Conchi Ania, Diana Azevedo, Enrique VilarrasaGarcia, Bianca Santos, Daniel Siderius


Porosity and surface area analysis plays a prominent role in modern materials science, where their determination spans the fields of natural sciences, engineering, geology and medical research. At the heart of this sits the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) theory,[1] which has been a remarkably successful contribution to the field of materials science. The BET method to calculate surface areas of materials was developed in the 1930's and is now the IUPAC standard for the characterization of nanoporous materials.[2] Since the BET method was first developed, there has been an explosion in the field of nanoporous materials with the discovery of synthetic zeolites,[3] nanostructured silicas[4–6] and porous coordination polymers (PCPs).[7] Despite its widespread use, there remain significant issues with the manual calculation of BET surface areas in both academia and industry. To probe this, we have brought together XX labs with a strong track record on the study of nanoporous materials. We provided eighteen adsorption isotherms and asked these researches to calculate their BET areas. We show here that the reproducibility of BET area determination from identical isotherms is a largely ignored issue, raising critical concerns over the reliability of reported BET areas in the literature. To solve this major issue, we have developed a new systematic approach to accurately and systematically determine the BET area of nanoporous materials.


adsorption, BET area, porous materials, materials characterization


Osterreith, J. , Rampersad, J. , Madden, D. , Rampal, N. , Skoric, L. , Connolly, B. , Ameloot, R. , Marreiros, J. , Ania, C. , Azevedo, D. , VilarrasaGarcia, E. , Santos, B. and Siderius, D. (2022), How reproducible are surface areas calculated from the BET equation?, Nature, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created May 23, 2022, Updated August 10, 2022