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Title: Neutrons measure phase behavior in pores at Angstrom size

Researchers have measured the phase behavior of green house gases in pores at the Angstrom-level, using small angle neutron scattering (SANS) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Flux Isotope Reactor. Yuri Melnichenko, an instrument scientist on the General Purpose Small Angle Neutron Scattering (GP SANS) Diffractometer at ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor, his postdoctoral associate Lilin He and collaborators Nidia Gallego and Cristian Contescu from the Material Sciences Division (ORNL) were engaged in the work. They were studying nanoporous carbons to assess their attractiveness as storage media for hydrogen, with a view to potential use for on-board hydrogen storage for transportation applications. Nanoporous carbons can also serve as electrode material for supercapacitors and batteries. The researchers successfully determined that the most efficiently condensing pore size in a carbon nanoporous material for hydrogen storage is less than one nanometer. In a paper recently published by the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the collaborators used small angle neutron scattering to study how hydrogen condenses in small pores at ambient temperature. They discovered that the surface-molecule interactions create internal pressures in pores that may exceed the external gas pressure by a factor of up to 50. 'This is an exciting result,'more » Melnichenko said, 'as you achieve extreme densification in pores 'for free', i.e. without spending any energy. These results can be used to guide the development of new carbon adsorbents tailored to maximize hydrogen storage capacities.' Another important factor that defines the adsorption capacity of sub-nanometer pores is their shape. In order to get accurate structural information and maximize sorption capacity, it is important that pores are small and of approximately uniform size. In collaboration with Drexel University's Yury Gogotsi who supplied the samples, Melnichenko and his collaborators used the GP SANS instrument to study how the size and shape of pores in sub-nanometer porous carbons varies, depending on the manufacturing conditions. While small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) can do the job too, Melnichenko says, the SANS method broke new ground in analyzing the shape and behavior of pores at subnanometer size, when subjected to varying synthesis temperature. 'We found that these very small pores are in fact spherical, and that when we change the synthesis conditions, they become elongated, even 'slit-like', and all of this on a subnanometer scale,' Melnichenko said.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1049070
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Notiziario Neutroni E Luce di Sincrotrone; Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 1
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); High Flux Isotope Reactor
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; ADSORBENTS; ADSORPTION; AMBIENT TEMPERATURE; CAPACITY; CARBON; DIFFRACTOMETERS; ELECTRODES; GASES; GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM; HFIR REACTOR; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN STORAGE; MANUFACTURING; NEUTRONS; ORNL; SCATTERING; SHAPE; SORPTION; STORAGE; SYNTHESIS