Hydrogen adsorption in carbon nanostructures compared

H.G. Schimmel, M.G. Nijkamp, G.J. Kearley, A. Rivera, K.P. de Jong, F.M. Mulder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent reports continue to suggest high hydrogen storage capacities for some carbon nanostructures due to a stronger interaction between hydrogen and carbon. Here the interaction of hydrogen with activated charcoal, carbon nanofibers, single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT), and electron beam ‘opened’ SWNT are compared and shown to be similar. The storage capacity below 77 K of these materials correlates with the surface area of the material with the activated charcoal having the largest. SWNT and ‘opened’ SWNT have a relatively low accessible surface area due to bundling of the tubes. Pressure–temperature curves give the interaction potential, which was found to be ≈580 K or 50 meV in all samples, leading to significant adsorption below ≈50 K. Using the inelastic neutron scattering signal associated with rotation of the hydrogen molecule as a sensitive probe for the surroundings of the molecule, no difference was found between the hydrogen molecules adsorbed in the investigated materials. These combined spectroscopic and macroscopic results show that SWNT, nanofibers and activated carbons store molecular hydrogen due to their graphitic nature and not because they possess special morphologies. Results from a density functional theory computer calculation suggest molecular hydrogen bonding to an aromatic C---C bond of graphite, irrespective of the surface morphology farther away.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-129
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials science and engineering. B
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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