A H2-D2 Exchange Study on Ni-based Binary-Ternary Amorphous and Crystalline Membranes
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Hydrogen is a major role player in current global sustainable energy scenario. Research around the world is carried out to harness hydrogen from all possible sources. One of these sources is water gas shift reaction after the coal gasification process. Sustainable infrastructure can be viable in countries like USA and Australia, making this process viable. Various methods are used to harness this hydrogen from the water gas. One of these methods is the use of inorganic membranes based on Pd, Ag, Ni, Zr and other transition metals. Pd addition to the membranes makes the membranes more expensive for commercial use. Various bulk properties like hydrogen permeation and absorption are studied on Pd and Pd-based alloys. Alternate alloys based on Ni, V, Ta etc are being studied to substitute the use of Pd making this technology more cost efficient. A current balance in research in this area is fund to exist by coating the non-precious metal membranes with Pd to improve the surface interaction with hydrogen. The nature of membranes used for hydrogen separation is important aspect for the overall performance. Crystalline materials provide better bulk properties, however, are not durable under high temperature and hydrogen pressure. In this research, non-Pd coated Ni-based amorphous membranes were made by melt spin technique, which have been studied for their surface properties. Gas phase H2-D2 exchange reaction has been carried out on the membrane surface. This provides a measure of catalytic activity of the above mentioned membranes. More studies included the crystallographic phase change determination, bulk hydrogen solubility measurements, surface conduction measurements and surface morphological studies. During this research, it has been observed that crystalline materials provide more surface activity for hydrogen than their amorphous counterparts. Ni64Zr36 alloy has been shown to exhibit similar kinetic rates as metallic Ni. Also, microkinetic analysis was performed to determine the heat of hydrogen absorption and desorption on the alloy surface. Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy was conducted on the membranes to determine the surface resistance and it was found that Ni64Zr36 as-spun ribbon displayed highest resistance while Ni60Ta20Zr20 showed lowest resistance. Absorption studies on Ni60V40 binary alloy and Ni60V20Zr20 ternary alloy indicated that the addition of Zr to these non-coated alloys increased the hydrogen solubility in the bulk. SEM and TEM analyses showed the presence of possible nano crystalline phases in Ni64Zr36 membrane. XRD and SEM studies conducted on post treated samples showed the possible phase segregation of Ni and ZrO2. Ni60Nb40 did not show any phase transformations after hydrogen heat treated unlike its ternary composition, Ni60Nb20Zr20. It is noteworthy to mention that bubbles were observed during SEM on Ni64Zr36 post-treated sample on the surface due to possible hydrogen trapping and subsequent release of hydrogen gas.