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Title: Vapour-liquid equilibria within nanoporous media
Author: Brown, Jacob Leslie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 5642
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is dedicated to the exploration of fluid phases confined in nanoporous materials using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) techniques, with an aim to benefit catalysis research. Included in this report are studies of pure fluids and their mixtures, confined in titania and silica catalyst supports. These investigations are conducted at industrially-relevant, high-temperature (≥ 180 °C) and high-pressure conditions (up to 13 bar), made possible by a pilot-scale chemical reactor unit, designed to operate inside the strong magnetic fields of an NMR spectrometer. NMR spectroscopy, relaxation and pulsed field gradient (PFG) diffusion experiments were performed on each of the systems discussed in this report. Cyclohexane was initially studied inside a porous titania catalyst support at 188 °C and various pressures up to 13 bar. The adsorption and desorption processes of the cyclohexane were observed, revealing a number of previously unobserved phenomena. In addition to an overall, averaged diffusion coefficient, a slow diffusion coefficient was observed within the PFG NMR data attributable to surface diffusive processes occurring within the material. Additionally, T1 relaxation studies were found to provide experimental evidence for the differing configurations of adsorbed layers on the adsorption and desorption branch of the isotherm. Cyclohexane was subsequently studied alongside fluorobenzene in a series of silica catalyst supports of 6 nm, 10 nm and 20 nm pore size. In doing this, it was hoped that the multiple phenomena observed in the titania experiments might be deconvoluted, allowing a greater level of insight. The diffusivities of the fluids were found to differ significantly between the materials, and greater evidence was found of the slow-diffusing surface phase in each of the materials. Additionally, concentrations of cyclohexane and fluorobenzene in the gas and adsorbed layers inside the pore space were calculated via the results of the PFG NMR experiments, providing a map of confined phase behaviour. Competitive adsorption effects were found to become more significant, the smaller the pore size of the material. The results of the cyclohexane and fluorobenzene in silica studies were modelled, using approaches available in the literature, which were found to give varying levels of prediction. The data set acquired in this thesis was found to provide a useful standard, against which current and future models of confined phase behaviour might be verified.
Supervisor: Gladden, Lynn Faith Sponsor: University of Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: NMR ; PFG ; Diffusion ; Phase Behaviour ; Nanopores ; Porous Media ; Nitrogen Adsorption ; BET ; Adsorption ; Catalysis ; Mesopore ; Micropore ; Surface Diffusion ; Fast Exchange ; Silica ; Titania ; Vapour-Liquid Equilibrium ; VLE ; Equation of State ; EOS