A non-invasive method to directly quantify surface heterogeneity of porous materials.
ABSTRACT: It is extremely challenging to measure the variation of pore surface properties in complex porous systems even though many porous materials have widely differing pore surface properties at microscopic levels. The surface heterogeneity results in different adsorption/desorption behaviors and storage capacity of guest molecules in pores. Built upon the conventional Porod's law scattering theory applicable mainly to porous materials with relatively homogeneous matrices, here we develop a generalized Porod's scattering law method (GPSLM) to study heterogeneous porous materials and directly obtain the variation of scattering length density (SLD) of pore surfaces. As SLD is a function of the chemical formula and density of the matrix, the non-invasive GPSLM provides a way to probe surface compositional heterogeneity, and can be applied to a wide range of heterogeneous materials especially, but not limited to, porous media and colloids, using either neutron or X-ray scattering techniques.
Project description:Periodic mesoporous materials of the type (R'O)(3)Si-R-Si(OR')(3) with benzene as an organic bridge and a crystal-like periodicity within the pore walls were functionalized with SO(3)H or SO(3) (-) groups and investigated by small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) with in situ nitrogen adsorption at 77 K. If N(2) is adsorbed in the pores the SANS measurements show a complete matching of all of the diffraction signals that are caused by the long-range ordering of the mesopores in the benzene-PMO, due to the fact that the benzene-PMO walls possess a neutron scattering length density (SLD) similar to that of nitrogen in the condensed state. However, signals at higher q-values (>1 1/Å) are not affected with respect to their SANS intensity, even after complete pore filling, confirming the assumption of a crystal-like periodicity within the PMO material walls due to ?-? interactions between the organic bridges. The SLD of pristine benzene-PMO was altered by functionalizing the surface with different amounts of SO(3)H-groups, using the grafting method. For a low degree of functionalization (0.81 mmol SO(3)H·g(-1)) and/or an inhomogeneous distribution of the SO(3)H-groups, the SLD changes only negligibly, and thus, complete contrast matching is still found. However, for higher amounts of SO(3)H-groups (1.65 mmol SO(3)H·g(-1)) being present in the mesopores, complete matching of the neutron diffraction signals is no longer observed proving that homogeneously distributed SO(3)H-groups on the inner pore walls of the benzene-PMO alter the SLD in a way that it no longer fits to the SLD of the condensed N(2).
Project description:The development of non-noble nano-porous metal materials is hindered by surface oxidation reactions and from the difficulty to generate long range order pore arrays. Dealloying is a promising route to generate such materials by selective chemical etching of metal alloy materials. This process can generate nano-metal materials with superior plasmonic, catalytic and adsorptive surface properties. Here, the impact of properties of the etching solution on the dealloying process to generate nano-pores across thin film alloys was investigated by in-situ SAXS dealloying experiments. Single phase CuZn alloys were used as model materials to evaluate the influence of the solution temperature on the pore formation kinetics. This novel analysis allowed to visualize the change in surface properties of the materials over time, including their surface area as well as their pore and ligament sizes. The dealloying kinetics at the very early stage of the process were found to be critical to both stable pore formation and stabilization. SAXS in-situ data were correlated to the morphological properties of the materials obtained from ex-situ samples by Rutherford back scattering and scanning electron microscopy.
Project description:In fields of materials science and chemistry, ionic-type porous materials attract increasing attention due to significant ion-exchanging capacity for accessing diversified applications. Facing the fact that porous cationic materials with robust and stable frameworks are very rare, novel tactics that can create new type members are highly desired. Here we report the first family of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) based porous cationic frameworks (PCIF-n) with enriched poly(ionic liquid)-like cationic structures, tunable mesoporosities, high surface areas (up to 1,025 m(2) g(-1)) and large pore volumes (up to 0.90 cm(3) g(-1)). Our strategy is designing the new rigid POSS unit of octakis(chloromethyl)silsesquioxane and reacting it with the rigid N-heterocyclic cross-linkers (typically 4,4'-bipyridine) for preparing the desired porous cationic frameworks. The PCIF-n materials possess large surface area, hydrophobic and special anion-exchanging property, and thus are used as the supports for loading guest species PMo10V2O40(5-); the resultant hybrid behaves as an efficient heterogeneous catalyst for aerobic oxidation of benzene and H2O2-mediated oxidation of cyclohexane.
Project description:We mundanely observe cellulose (kitchen) sponges swell while absorbing water. Fluid flows in deformable porous media, such as soils and hydrogels, are classically described on the basis of the theories of Darcy and poroelasticity, where the expansion of media arises due to increased pore pressure. However, the situation is qualitatively different in cellulosic porous materials like sponges because the pore expansion is driven by wetting of the surrounding cellulose walls rather than by increase of the internal pore pressure. We address a seemingly so simple but hitherto unanswered question of how fast water wicks into the swelling sponge. Our experiments uncover a power law of the wicking height versus time distinct from that for nonswelling materials. The observation using environmental scanning electron microscopy reveals the coalescence of microscale wall pores with wetting, which allows us to build a mathematical model for pore size evolution and the consequent wicking dynamics. Our study sheds light on the physics of water absorption in hygroscopically responsive multiscale porous materials, which have far more implications than everyday activities (for example, cleaning, writing, and painting) carried out with cellulosic materials (paper and sponge), including absorbent hygiene products, biomedical cell cultures, building safety, and cooking.
Project description:Conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs) with robust architectures, facilely tunable pore sizes and large specific surface areas have emerged as an important class of porous materials due to their demonstrated prospects in various fields, e.g. gas storage/separation and heterogeneous catalysis. Herein, two new pyrrole-based CMPs with large specific surface areas and good stabilities were successfully prepared by one-step oxidative self-polycondensation of 1,2,4,5-tetra (pyrrol-2-ly)benzene or 1,3,5-tri (pyrrol-2-ly)benzene, respectively. Interestingly, both CMPs showed very high catalytic activity toward Knoevenagel condensation reaction, which was attributed to the inherent pore channels, high specific surface areas and abundant nitrogen sites within CMPs. Additionally, both CMPs displayed excellent recyclability with negligible degradation after 10 cycles. This work provides new possibilities into designing novel nitrogen-rich high-performance heterogeneous catalysts.
Project description:Porous molecular cages have a characteristic processability arising from their solubility, which allows their incorporation into porous materials. Attaining solubility often requires covalently bound functional groups that are unnecessary for porosity and which ultimately occupy free volume in the materials, decreasing their surface areas. Here, a method is described that takes advantage of the coordination bonds in metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs) to render insoluble MOPs soluble by reversibly attaching an alkyl-functionalized ligand. We then use the newly soluble MOPs as monomers for supramolecular polymerization reactions, obtaining permanently porous, amorphous polymers with the shape of colloids and gels, which display increased gas uptake in comparison with materials made with covalently functionalized MOPs.
Project description:Most numerical simulation studies have focused on the effect of homogenous wettability on fluid flow dynamics; however, most rocks display spatially heterogeneous wettability. Therefore, we have used direct numerical simulations (DNS) to investigate wettability heterogeneity at pore-scale. We have built a quasi-3D pore-scale model and simulated two-phase flow in a homogenous porous media with homogenous and heterogeneous wettability distributions. Five different heterogeneous wettability patterns were used in this study. We observed that heterogenous wettability significantly affects the evolution of fluid interface, trapped saturation, and displacement patterns. Wettability heterogeneity results in fingering and specific trapping patterns which do not follow the flow behaviour characteristic of a porous medium with homogenous wettability. This flow behaviour indicates a different flow regime that cannot be estimated using homogenous wettability distributions represented by an average contact angle. Moreover, our simulation results show that certain spatial configurations of wettability heterogeneity at the microscale, e.g. being perpendicular to the flow direction, may assist the stability of the displacement and delay the breakthrough time. In contrast, other configurations such as being parallel to the flow direction promote flow instability for the same pore-scale geometry.
Project description:Ice recrystallization is of great importance to both fundamental research and practical applications, however understanding and controlling ice recrystallization processes remains challenging. Here, we report the discovery of an ion-specific effect on ice recrystallization. By simply changing the initial type and concentration of ions in an aqueous solution, the size of ice grains after recrystallization can be tuned from 27.4±4.1 to 277.5±30.9??m. Molecular dynamics simulations show that the ability of the ion to be incorporated into the ice phase plays a key role in the ultimate size of the ice grains after recrystallization. Moreover, by using recrystallized ice crystals as templates, 2D and 3D porous networks with tuneable pore sizes could be prepared from various materials, for example, NaBr, collagen, quantum dots, silver and polystyrene colloids. These porous materials are suitable for a wide range of applications, for example, in organic electronics, catalysis and bioengineering.
Project description:Tailoring of semiconducting metal oxide nanostructures, which possess controlled pore size and concentration, is of great value to accurately detect various volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath, which act as potential biomarkers for many health conditions. In this work, we have developed a very simple and robust route for controlling both the size and distribution of spherical pores in electrospun WO3 nanofibers (NFs) via a sacrificial templating route using polystyrene colloids with different diameters (200?nm and 500?nm). A tentacle-like structure with randomly distributed pores on the surface of electrospun WO3 NFs were achieved, which exhibited improved surface area as well as porosity. Porous WO3 NFs with enhanced surface area exhibited high gas response (Rair/Rgas = 43.1 at 5?ppm) towards small and light H2S molecules. In contrast, porous WO3 NFs with maximized pore diameter showed a high response (Rair/Rgas = 2.8 at 5?ppm) towards large and heavy acetone molecules. Further enhanced sensing performance (Rair/Rgas = 65.6 at 5?ppm H2S) was achieved by functionalizing porous WO3 NFs with 0.1?wt% non-oxidized graphene (NOGR) flakes by forming a Schottky barrier (?? = 0.11) at the junction between the WO3 NFs (? = 4.56?eV) and NOGR flakes (? = 4.67?eV), which showed high potential for the diagnosis of halitosis.
Project description:Underground rocks usually have complex pore system with a variety of pore types and a wide range of pore size. The effects of pore structure on elastic wave attenuation cannot be neglected. We investigated the pore structure effects on P-wave scattering attenuation in dry rocks by pore-scale modeling based on the wave theory and the similarity principle. Our modeling results indicate that pore size, pore shape (such as aspect ratio), and pore density are important factors influencing P-wave scattering attenuation in porous rocks, and can explain the variation of scattering attenuation at the same porosity. From the perspective of scattering attenuation, porous rocks can safely suit to the long wavelength assumption when the ratio of wavelength to pore size is larger than 15. Under the long wavelength condition, the scattering attenuation coefficient increases as a power function as the pore density increases, and it increases exponentially with the increase in aspect ratio. For a certain porosity, rocks with smaller aspect ratio and/or larger pore size have stronger scattering attenuation. When the pore aspect ratio is larger than 0.5, the variation of scattering attenuation at the same porosity is dominantly caused by pore size and almost independent of the pore aspect ratio. These results lay a foundation for pore structure inversion from elastic wave responses in porous rocks.