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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Oct 19;127(41):14348-54.

Hydrogen cycling of niobium and vanadium catalyzed nanostructured magnesium.

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  • 1Department of Radiation, Radionuclides and Reactors, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 15, 2629JB Delft, The Netherlands.


The reaction of hydrogen gas with magnesium metal, which is important for hydrogen storage purposes, is enhanced significantly by the addition of catalysts such as Nb and V and by using nanostructured powders. In situ neutron diffraction on MgNb(0.05) and MgV(0.05) powders give a detailed insight on the magnesium and catalyst phases that exist during the various stages of hydrogen cycling. During the early stage of hydriding (and deuteriding), a MgH(1< x < 2) phase is observed, which does not occur in bulk MgH(2) and, thus, appears characteristic for the small particles. The abundant H vacancies will cause this phase to have a much larger hydrogen diffusion coefficient, partly explaining the enhanced kinetics of nanostructured magnesium. It is shown that under relevant experimental conditions, the niobium catalyst is present as NbH(1). Second, a hitherto unknown Mg-Nb perovskite phase could be identified that has to result from mechanical alloying of Nb and the MgO layer of the particles. Vanadium is not visible in the diffraction patterns, but electron micrographs show that the V particle size becomes very small, 2-20 nm. Nanostructuring and catalyzing the Mg enhance the adsorption speed that much that now temperature variations effectively limit the absorption speed and not, as for bulk, the slow kinetics through bulk MgH(2) layers.

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