Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Elias K. Stefanakos

Co-Major Professor

Ashok Kumar


hydrogen storage measurements, lithium amide, magnesium hydride, porous polymers, spillover


In this dissertation, hydrogen storage enhancement in hypercrosslinked polystyrene, effects of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) supported ruthenium (Ru) catalyst on the kinetics and ammonia suppression in the LiNH2-MgH2 complex hydride system and the accuracy of hydrogen storage measurements are investigated in detail.

High surface area physisorption materials are of interest for room temperature hydrogen storage enhancement by spillover. Six different commercially available hypercrosslinked polystyrenes are screened by considering the specific surface area, average pore size, pore volume, and adsorption enthalpy. MN270 is selected mainly due to its high surface area and narrow pores for investigation of the spillover enhancement at room temperature. Two different platinum (Pt) doped MN270 samples are prepared by wet impregnation (MN270-6wt%Pt) and bridge building technique (MN270-bridged) with an average Pt particle size of 3.9 and 9.9nm, respectively, as obtained from X-ray diffraction analysis. Pt doping altered the surface property of MN270, and reduced the nitrogen and hydrogen uptake at 77 K and 1 atm due to pore blocking. The room temperature hydrogen uptake at 100 atm demonstrated a 10% enhancement for the MN270-bridged (0.36 wt. %) compared to the pristine MN270 (0.32 wt. %), but did not show any enhancement for the MN270-6wt%Pt under the same conditions. The hydrogen uptake of MN270-bridged has little value for practical applications; however, it showed the effectiveness of the bridge building technique.

The LiNH2 - MgH2 (2:1.1) complex metal hydride system (Li-Mg-N-H), which is prepared by high energy ball milling, is investigated in terms of the hydrogen ab/desorption kinetics and the concomitant NH3 emission levels. By selecting more intense ball milling parameters, the hydrogen ab/desorption kinetics were improved and the NH3 emission reduced. However, it is shown that NH3 emission cannot be completely eliminated by ball milling. The hydrogen desorption kinetics of the Li-Mg-N-H system is much faster than the absorption kinetics at a specific T and P, but the desorption kinetics degraded considerably over a number of cycles as opposed to the stabilized absorption kinetics. Furthermore, SWCNTs and 20 wt. % Ru doped SWCNTs (SWCNT-20Ru) are utilized as catalysts to study their effects on NH3 emission and kinetics characteristics of the Li-Mg-N-H system. The SWCNT doped sample did not show any kinetics improvement, whereas the SWCNT-20Ru doped sample showed similar kinetics performance as that of the base sample. More importantly, the presence of SWCNT increased the NH3 emission as compared to the base sample. On the other hand, SWCNT-20Ru doping reduced the NH3 emission compared to the SWCNT doping, but did not eliminate it completely. As revealed from the mass spectrometry signals, the SWCNT-20Ru catalyst starts to decompose NH3 at a temperature as low as 200°C. However, an optimal catalyst still needs to be developed by fine tuning the Ru particle size and the SWCNT structural properties to maximize its effectiveness to suppress NH3 release in the Li-Mg-N-H system.

The design of a volumetric measurement apparatus is studied by means of an uncertainty analysis to provide guidelines for optimum hydrogen sorption measurements. The reservoir volume should be as small as possible (i.e., 10 cc) to minimize the uncertainty. In addition, the sample mass loading has a profound effect on the uncertainty and the optimum loading is a function of the sample's intrinsic storage capacity. In general, the higher the sample mass loading the lower is the uncertainty, regardless of any other parameters. In cases where the material to be tested is not available in gram quantities, the use of high accuracy pressure and temperature transducers significantly mitigates the uncertainty in the sample's hydrogen uptake. Above all, the thermal equilibration time is an important parameter for high accuracy measurements and needs to be taken into consideration at the start of the measurements. Based on computational analysis, a 5 min wait time is required for achieving thermal equilibrium when the instrument enclosure temperature is different than the ambient temperature.