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Title: Neutron diffraction of hydrogen inclusion compounds under pressure
Author: Donnelly, Mary-Ellen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 8698
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2017
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When ice is compressed alongside a gas, crystalline 'host - guest' inclusion compounds known as gas clathrate hydrates form. These compounds are of interest not only for their environmental and possible technological impact as gas storage and separation materials, but also for their ability to probe networks not readily adopted by the pure `host' water molecules, and to study the interactions between water and gas molecules. Despite the pressure dependent crystal structures being fully determined for a large variety of `guest' gas species there is still relatively little known about the crystal structures in small guest gas systems such as H2 hydrate. The majority of structural studies have been done with x-ray diffraction and report a number of conflicting structures or hydrogen contents for the four known stable phases (sII, C0, C1 and C2). As this is a very hydrogen rich system the most ideal method to study the structure is neutron diffraction, which is able to fully determine the location of the hydrogen atoms within the structure and would allow a direct measurement of any hydrogen ordering within the host structure and the H2 content. In this work the phase diagram of the deuterated analogue of the H2-H2O system is explored at low pressures (below 0.3 GPa) with neutron diffraction. In the pressure/temperature region where the sII phase is known to be stable, two metastable phases were observed between the formation of sII from ice Ih and that this transition sequence occurred in line with Ostwald's Rule of Stages. One of these metastable phases was the C0 phase known to be stable in the H2-H2O system above 0.5 GPa, and the other is a new structure not previously observed in this system and is dubbed in this work as C-1 . Prior to this work the C0 phase has been reported with various structures that were determined with x-ray diffraction, and here the crystal structure and H2 content at low pressure are determined with neutron diffraction. The C0 phase was found to form a similar host structure to those of the previous studies with spiral guest sites but is best described with highly mobile H2 guests and a higher symmetry space group which make it the same structure as the spiral hydrate structure (s-Sp) recently observed in the CO2 hydrate system. In addition to this structure being determined at pressure a sample of C0 was also recovered to ambient pressure at low temperature and its structure/H2 content is presented as it was warmed to decomposition. The crystal structure of the C-1 phase was determined to be similar to ice Ih and a sample was recovered to ambient pressure to study its decomposition behaviour. Evidence for a similar structure in the helium hydrate system at low pressure is also reported here. This work was then extended to higher pressures with the recent developments of a hydrogen-compatible gas loader and large-volume diamond anvil cells. Several test experiments on gas-loaded Paris-Edinburgh presses are described on systems that are similar to hydrogen-water like urea-hydrogen and neon-water. And a further preliminary high pressure study on the deuterated analogue of the H2- H2O system in a diamond anvil cell between 3.6 and 28 GPa shows decomposition behaviour as pressure was increased.
Supervisor: Loveday, John ; McMahon, Malcolm Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: gas clathrate hydrates ; hydrogen-ice system ; high-pressure ; hydrogen-urea system