J.B.W.Webber, J.H. Strange and J.C. Dore
School of Physical Sciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, U.K.

Sol-gel silicas with nominal pore diameters ranging from 25Å to 500Å were studied by NMR cryoporometry, and by neutron diffraction and small angle scattering from dry silicas over the Q range 8•10-4Å-1 < Q < 17Å-1 . Density and imbibition experiments were also performed.

Geometric models of porous systems were constructed and were studied by both analytic techniques and Monte-Carlo integration. These models, combined with the information from the above measurements, enabled the calculation of the fully density corrected solid-solid density correlation functions G(r) for the sol-gel silicas, deduction of the (void less) silica matrix density, measurement of the silica fraction in the grain and of the packing fraction of the silica grains and an estimation of the water equivalent residual hydrogen on the dried silica surface. In addition, the pore diameter D, pore diameter to lattice spacing ratio D/a, and pore and lattice variance sigma could also be measured.

While the NMR cryoporometry pore diameter measurements for the sol-gel silicas show excellent co-linearity with the nominal pore diameters as measured by gas adsorption, and the calculated pore diameters from the measured neutron scattering show surprisingly good agreement with these measurements at large pore diameters, there is a divergence between the calibrations for pore diameters below about 100Å.

Keywords : NMR, cryoporometry, porosimetry, neutron scattering, SANS, pore modeling.

Talk delivered in Bologna at 5th International Meeting on Recent Advances in MR Applications to Porous Media, to be published in Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Authors comments:

At the University of Kent we have made extensive measurements on sol-gel silica and other porous materials.
This abstract of my talk briefly summarizes some of the work carried out there as part of my thesis : Characterizing Porous Media - Beau Webber

Additional Links - A summary of the different methods we use to study porous materials at UKC, - Centre for Materials Research at UKC.


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