Hydrogen Motion in Magnesium Hydride by NMR


In coarse-grained MgH2, the diffusive motion of hydrogen remains too slow (<105 hops s−1) to narrow the H NMR line up to 400 °C. Slow-motion dipolar relaxation time T1D measurements reveal the motion, with hopping rate ωH from 0.1 to 430 s−1over the range of 260 to 400 °C, the first direct measurement of H hopping in MgH2. The ωH data are described by an activation energy of 1.72 eV (166 kJ/mol) and attempt frequency of 2.5 × 1015 s−1. In ball-milled MgH2 with 0.5 mol % added Nb2O5 catalyst, line-narrowing is evident already at 50 °C. The line shape shows distinct broad and narrow components corresponding to immobile and mobile H, respectively. The fraction of mobile H grows continuously with temperature, reaching ∼30% at 400 °C. This demonstrates that this material’s superior reaction kinetics are due to an increased rate of H motion, in addition to the shorter diffusion paths from ball-milling. In ball-milled MgH2 without additives, the line-narrowed component is weaker and is due, at least in part, to trapped H2 gas. The spin−lattice relaxation rates T1−1 of all materials are compared, with ball-milling markedly increasing T1−1. The weak temperature dependence of T1−1 suggests a mechanism with paramagnetic relaxation centers arising from the mechanical milling.
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