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An Investigation into the Hydrogen Storage Characteristics of Ca(BH4)2/LiNH2 and Ca(BH4)2/NaNH2: Evidence of Intramolecular Destabilization

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journal contribution
posted on 10.07.2014, 00:00 by Natchapol Poonyayant, Vitalie Stavila, Eric H. Majzoub, Leonard E. Klebanoff, Richard Behrens, Natee Angboonpong, Mutlu Ulutagay-Kartin, Pasit Pakawatpanurut, Ethan S. Hecht, Joseph S. Breit
We report a study of the hydrogen storage properties of materials that result from ball milling Ca­(BH4)2 and MNH2 (M = Li or Na) in a 1:1 molar ratio. The reaction products were examined experimentally by powder X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry (TGA/DSC), simultaneous thermogravimetric modulated beam mass spectrometry (STMBMS), and temperature-programmed desorption (TPD). The Ca­(BH4)/LiNH2 system produces a single crystalline compound assigned to LiCa­(BH4)2(NH2). In contrast, ball milling of the Ca­(BH4)/NaNH2 system leads to a mixture of NaBH4 and Ca­(NH2)2 produced by a metathesis reaction and another phase we assign to NaCa­(BH4)2(NH2). Hydrogen desorption from the LiCa­(BH4)2(NH2) compound starts around 150 °C, which is more than 160 °C lower than that from pure Ca­(BH4)2. Hydrogen is the major gaseous species released from these materials; however various amounts of ammonia form as well. A comparison of the TGA/DSC, STMBMS, and TPD data suggests that the amount of NH3 released is lower when the desorption reaction is performed in a closed vessel. There is no evidence for diborane (B2H6) release from LiCa­(BH4)2(NH2), but traces of other volatile boron–nitrogen species (B2N2H4 and BN3H3) are observed at 0.3 mol % of hydrogen released. Theoretical investigations of the possible crystal structures and detailed phase diagrams of the Li–Ca–B–N–H system were conducted using the prototype electrostatic ground state (PEGS) method and multiple gas canonical linear programming (MGCLP) approaches. The theory is in qualitative agreement with the experiments and explains how ammonia desorption in a closed volume can be suppressed. The reduced hydrogen desorption temperature of LiCa­(BH4)2(NH2) relative to Ca­(BH4)2 is believed to originate from intramolecular destabilization.