H2 Desorption from MgH2 Surfaces with Steps and Catalyst-Dopants

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Reich, J.
Wang, Lin-Lin
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Johnson, Duane
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Light-metal hydrides, like MgH2, remain under scrutiny as prototypes for reversible H-storage materials. For MgH2, we assess hydrogen desorption/adsorption properties (enthalpy and kinetic barriers) for stepped, catalyst-doped surfaces occurring, e.g., from ball-milling in real samples. Employing density functional theory and simulated annealing in a slab model, we studied initial H2 desorption from stepped surfaces with(out) titanium (Ti) catalytic dopant. Extensive simulated annealing studies were performed to find the dopant’s site preferences. For the most stable initial and final (possibly magnetic) states, nudged elastic band (NEB) calculations were performed to determine the H2-desorption activation energy. We used a moment-transition NEB method to account for the dopant’s transition to the lowest-energy magnetic state at each image along the band. We identify a dopant-related surface-desorption mechanism that reloads via bulk H diffusion. While reproducing the observed bulk enthalpy of desorption, we find a decrease of 0.24 eV (a 14% reduction) in the activation energy on doped stepped surface; together with a 22% reduction on a doped flat surface, this brackets the assessed 18% reduction in kinetic barrier for ball-milled MgH2 samples with low concentration of Ti from experiment.


Reprinted with permission from J. Phys. Chem. C. 2014. 118(13), pp. 6641–6649, doi:10.1021/jp412826u. Copyright 2014 American Chemical Society.

Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2014