Hydrogen-rich Material Promises Advances in Energy Transmission, Fuel Storage

Aug 20, 2009 by Nicholas Bock
Researchers created material under enormous pressures by squeezing samples between two diamonds. (Photo courtesy Wendy Mao.)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science, a joint institute of SLAC and Stanford University, have produced a hydrogen-rich alloy that could provide insight into the properties of metallic hydrogen, according to a study published in the August 17 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work is a step toward materials with revolutionary implications for energy science, enabling lossless power transmission, next-generation particle accelerators and even magnetic levitation.

Metallic is a state of hydrogen predicted to form under ultra-high pressure. If achieved, some researchers predict it could function as a room-temperature superconductor—a material capable of conducting electricity with zero resistance at temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius. But because the pressure required to make metallic hydrogen is so enormous—much greater the pressure experienced by materials in the center of the earth—researchers have had little luck in producing it.

"People are very interested in hydrogen because it's element one," said SIMES physicist Wendy Mao, who was a co-author on the study. "At high enough pressure, it should be metallic and it should be a room temperature superconductor."

In hopes of getting a better idea of how metallic hydrogen behaves, researchers are becoming increasingly interested in hydrogen-rich compounds that might have properties similar to those seen in pure hydrogen. Called hydrides, the chemicals might undergo similar phase changes as metallic hydrogen, but at more accessible pressures.

One of the most promising candidates of study is called silane, which contains an atom of silicon bound to four atoms of hydrogen. Previous studies have suggested that pure silane metalizes at pressures far lower than those required to produce metallic hydrogen. The goal for Mao's group was to study the properties of composed of hydrogen and silane together.

"People have already identified pure silane as a superconductor," she said. "The next step is to determine what happens if you have something that is mostly hydrogen with a little bit of silane. Maybe you can get something closer to hydrogen."

For the study, Mao and her colleagues studied two different silane-containing samples: one containing equal parts hydrogen and silane, another containing an abundance of hydrogen in a five-to-one ratio.

Using a device called a diamond anvil cell, the samples were squeezed between a pair of diamonds, generating pressures upwards of 6 gigapascals—60,000 times the earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level. Aside from being one of the few materials suited to withstand the high pressures, diamond also provides researchers a window into the process, allowing them to conduct analyses of the pressurized samples.

The alloys solidified at much lower pressures than would be required for hydrogen alone, with the hydrogen-rich alloy forming a solid containing more than 99 percent hydrogen.

The researchers also found that even though the amount of silane in the hydrogen-rich sample was minimal, it had a dramatic effect on hydrogen-hydrogen interactions. According to Shibing Wang, a SIMES graduate student and the lead author on the paper, the finding is significant because it could contribute to a better understanding of the properties of atoms in hydrogen alloys, which are commonly used in hydrogen storage and could have implications for hydrogen fuel storage.

"The interaction between hydrogen and its environment is definitely more complicated than we expected," Wang said. "I'm quite sure this is true for other hydrides that have potential hydrogen storage capabilities."

Provided by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (news : web)

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User comments : 12

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otto1923
not rated yet Aug 20, 2009
I wonder what the ability of nanotubes or balls would be to contain materials under pressure. could you create metallic superconductors on the interior of single- or multi-wall nanotubes to sustain the required pressure? Are the scales appropriate? Could you use buckyballs to contain and stabilize ultra-dense deuterium? Maybe start with graphene rooled around a substance under pressure and then 'zipped up'? Are these even appropriate questions?
otto1923
not rated yet Aug 20, 2009
Maybe start with graphene rolled around a substance under pressure and then 'zipped up'?
-Maybe starting with graphane...
http://www.physor...755.html
Skepticus
not rated yet Aug 20, 2009
Too bad they didn't try to explosively compressing hydrogen-saturated palladium...the result would be..er interesting to saythe least..!
Alexa
not rated yet Aug 20, 2009
..they didn't try to explosively compressing hydrogen-saturated palladium..
"They" didn't try too many even way way more trivial things, like Arata's cold fusion..

http://nextbigfut...sis.html
PPihkala
not rated yet Aug 20, 2009
Make that deuterium saturated palladium under pressure instead of hydrogen. I bet the boom will be much bigger...
otto1923
not rated yet Aug 21, 2009
All they need is some high-grade red mercury
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 21, 2009
..they didn't try to explosively compressing hydrogen-saturated palladium..
"They" didn't try too many even way way more trivial things, like Arata's cold fusion..



http://nextbigfut...sis.html

Because again you're harping on a dead hypothesis.

You really seem to like these DoA hypotheses.
Alexa
not rated yet Aug 21, 2009
you're harping on a dead hypothesis
It's not my intention to waste time with dead hypothesis. Try to compare decomposition of water with radiowaves: it can absorb energy in radiowave frequency energy density range (13 MHz, i.e. 5.10E-8 eV) - while energy required for splitting of water molecule is in 1.23 eV range (300 kJ/kmol), i.e. more then 10E8x higher!

http://aetherwave...ory.html

In comparison with it the activation energy of deuterion fusion (5x10E 7 kJ/kmol) isn't very high at all, if we consider its initiation by electrochemical reaction in 1 eV range - it's just 10E 7x higher, i.e. nearly one hundred times more probable, then the splitting of water clusters by radiowaves from thermodynamical perspective.
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 21, 2009
Deuterium fusion into HE-4 isn't possible without resultant radioactive presence.

Since Arata can't prove anything aside from a relatively small thermal flux there is no evidence for fusion of any type.

What is most likely occuring is muonic capture. And since you're an AWT'er you should know what that is and how it works as well as how it is completely responsible for the results of Arata and explains his inability to reproduce the experiment in a sealed environment.
notnewton
not rated yet Aug 24, 2009
I would direct you to an article by Dr CW Hunt (geologist) who wrote about Hydrides and the work of the Russian V. Larin at http://eearthk.co...s03.html (short article and links to his books)
It has been shown that hydrogen nuclei (sans electrons) embed themselves within other metals, densifying them. Hydrogen embrittlement is also well known in deep oil drill shafts (same cause). This leads the open minded to think of totally different science directions including whether the universally accepted "iron core" theory is correct, or is it more likely the core is really made of the universally available elements of hydrogen and helium, and bits of odd other matter.
KW
Alexa
not rated yet Aug 25, 2009
... Arata can't prove anything aside from a relatively small thermal flux...

...and hellium formation...;-)
D D = 4He heat http://tinyurl.com/m4xjzc
Arata's fusion is the purest energy source, which we can even imagine. You're just ignorant, face it. What will happen, if everybody would behave like you?

Well, correctly: nothing happens. Progress will stop, people will destroy their life environment and they will die-off.
Alexa
not rated yet Aug 25, 2009
..explains his inability to reproduce the experiment in a sealed environment..
You know nothing about Arata's experiments - they just were done in sealed environment. Why world is full of ignorant idiots, who argue against things, which they apparently don't know at all?

After all, if some reaction evolves heat and helium spontaneously in presence of deuterium and not in presence of hydrogen - I really don't care very much, if it's cold fusion or not - such result is significant even from pure scientific and practical perspective.