Projects per year
The mechanisms of entrapment, and the nanoscopic spatial distribution, of the residual mercury within nano-cast and amorphous porous media (pore sizes similar to 1-100 nm) following high-pressure penetration have been studied. It has been shown that, even at the nanoscale, one of the same two principle mechanisms that have been observed previously in mercury porosimetry experiments on macroscopic glass pore models also occur within a given amorphous, nanoporous solid. Using percolation theory to interpret novel, integrated gas sorption experiments, entrapment was shown to arise, either because of the presence of sufficiently narrow pore necks interspersed between larger voids, or due to non-random, longer-range structural heterogeneity. The threshold "snap-off" ratio parameter for the entrapment process has also been directly measured but found to be considerably smaller than seen previously for macroporous materials. The techniques employed here enable information not previously available for nanoporous systems to be determined, and therefore to be incorporated into simulations of mercury porosimetry on those materials.