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Investigations of the structural stability of metal hydride composites by in-situ neutron imaging

: Herbrig, K.; Pohlmann, C.; Gondek, L.; Figiel, H.; Kardjilov, N.; Hilger, A.; Manke, I.; Banhart, J.; Kieback, B.; Röntzsch, L.


Journal of power sources 293 (2015), pp.109-118
ISSN: 0378-7753
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IFAM, Institutsteil Pulvermetallurgie und Verbundwerkstoffe Dresden ()

Metal hydride composites (MHC) with expanded natural graphite (ENG) exhibiting enhanced thermal conductivity and reduced porosity compared to metal hydride powders can enable a reversible, compact and safe way for hydrogen storage. In this study, neutron imaging during cyclic hydrogenation was utilized to investigate the structural stability and the spatial-temporal hydrogen concentration of application-oriented MHC with 40 mm in diameter compared to a loose metal hydride powder. In particular, swelling and shrinking effects of a radially confined MHC which could freely expand upwards were studied. It was found that the loose powder bed was easily torn apart during dehydrogenation, which leads to increased thermal resistance within the hydride bed. In contrast, the thermal resistance between MHC and container wall was minimized since the initial gap closes during initial hydrogenation and does not reopen thereafter. Further cyclic hydrogenation caused MHC volume changes, i.e. an almost reversible swelling/shrinking (so-called “MHC breathing”). Moreover, neutron imaging allowed for the observation of reaction fronts within the MHC and the powder bed that are governed by the heat transfer.