Adsorption-induced deformation of a series of silica samples with hierarchical porosity has been studied by in situ small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and in situ dilatometry. Monolithic samples consisted of a disordered macroporous network of struts formed by a 2D lattice of hexagonally ordered cylindrical mesopores and disordered micropores within the mesopore walls. Strain isotherms were obtained at the mesopore level by analyzing the shift of the Bragg reflections from the ordered mesopore lattice in SANS data. Thus, SANS essentially measured the radial strain of the cylindrical mesopores including the volume changes of the mesopore walls due to micropore deformation. A H2O/D2O adsorbate with net zero coherent neutron scattering length density was employed in order to avoid apparent strain effects due to intensity changes during pore filling. In contrast to SANS, the strain isotherms obtained from in situ dilatometry result from a combination of axial and radial mesopore deformation together with micropore deformation. Strain data were quantitatively analyzed with a theoretical model for micro-/mesopore deformation by combining information from nitrogen and water adsorption isotherms to estimate the water-silica interaction. It was shown that in situ SANS provides complementary information to dilatometry and allows for a quantitative estimate of the elastic properties of the mesopore walls from water adsorption.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces