Composite Materials for Hazard Mitigation of Reactive Metal Hydrides.

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In an attempt to mitigate the hazards associated with storing large quantities of reactive metal hydrides, polymer composite materials were synthesized and tested under simulated usage and accident conditions. The composites were made by polymerizing vinyl monomers using free-radical polymerization chemistry, in the presence of the metal hydride. Composites with vinyl-containing siloxane oligomers were also polymerized with and without added styrene and divinyl benzene. Hydrogen capacity measurements revealed that addition of the polymer to the metal hydride reduced the inherent hydrogen storage capacity of the material. The composites were found to be initially effective at reducing the amount of heat ... continued below

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55 p.

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Pratt, Joseph William; Cordaro, Joseph Gabriel; Sartor, George B.; Dedrick, Daniel E. & Reeder, Craig L. February 1, 2012.

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  • Sandia National Laboratories
    Publisher Info: Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
    Place of Publication: Livermore, California

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In an attempt to mitigate the hazards associated with storing large quantities of reactive metal hydrides, polymer composite materials were synthesized and tested under simulated usage and accident conditions. The composites were made by polymerizing vinyl monomers using free-radical polymerization chemistry, in the presence of the metal hydride. Composites with vinyl-containing siloxane oligomers were also polymerized with and without added styrene and divinyl benzene. Hydrogen capacity measurements revealed that addition of the polymer to the metal hydride reduced the inherent hydrogen storage capacity of the material. The composites were found to be initially effective at reducing the amount of heat released during oxidation. However, upon cycling the composites, the mitigating behavior was lost. While the polymer composites we investigated have mitigating potential and are physically robust, they undergo a chemical change upon cycling that makes them subsequently ineffective at mitigating heat release upon oxidation of the metal hydride. Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the following people who participated in this project: Ned Stetson (U.S. Department of Energy) for sponsorship and support of the project. Ken Stewart (Sandia) for building the flow-through calorimeter and cycling test stations. Isidro Ruvalcaba, Jr. (Sandia) for qualitative experiments on the interaction of sodium alanate with water. Terry Johnson (Sandia) for sharing his expertise and knowledge of metal hydrides, and sodium alanate in particular. Marcina Moreno (Sandia) for programmatic assistance. John Khalil (United Technologies Research Corp) for insight into the hazards of reactive metal hydrides and real-world accident scenario experiments. Summary In an attempt to mitigate and/or manage hazards associated with storing bulk quantities of reactive metal hydrides, polymer composite materials (a mixture of a mitigating polymer and a metal hydride) were synthesized and tested under simulated usage and accident conditions. Mitigating the hazards associated with reactive metal hydrides during an accident while finding a way to keep the original capability of the active material intact during normal use has been the focus of this work. These composites were made by polymerizing vinyl monomers using free-radical polymerization chemistry, in the presence of the metal hydride, in this case a prepared sodium alanate (chosen as a representative reactive metal hydride). It was found that the polymerization of styrene and divinyl benzene could be initiated using AIBN in toluene at 70 degC. The resulting composite materials can be either hard or brittle solids depending on the cross-linking density. Thermal decomposition of these styrene-based composite materials is lower than neat polystyrene indicating that the chemical nature of the polymer is affected by the formation of the composite. The char-forming nature of cross-linked polystyrene is low and therefore, not an ideal polymer for hazard mitigation. To obtain composite materials containing a polymer with higher char-forming potential, siloxane-based monomers were investigated. Four vinyl-containing siloxane oligomers were polymerized with and without added styrene and divinyl benzene. Like the styrene materials, these composite materials exhibited thermal decomposition behavior significantly different than the neat polymers. Specifically, the thermal decomposition temperature was shifted approximately 100 degC lower than the neat polymer signifying a major chemical change to the polymer network. Thermal analysis of the cycled samples was performed on the siloxane-based composite materials. It was found that after 30 cycles the siloxane-containing polymer composite material has similar TGA/DSC-MS traces as the virgin composite material indicating that the polymer is physically intact upon cycling. Hydrogen capacity measurements revealed that addition of the polymer to the metal hydride in the form of a composite material reduced the inherent hydrogen storage capacity of the material. This reduction in capacity was observed to be independent of the amount of charge/discharge cycles except for the composites containing siloxane, which showed less of an impact on hydrogen storage capacity as it was cycled further. While the reason for this is not clear, it may be due to a chemically stabilizing effect of the siloxane on the metal hydride. Flow-through calorimetry was used to characterize the mitigating effectiveness of the different composites relative to the neat (no polymer) material. The composites were found to be initially effective at reducing the amount of heat released during oxidation, and the best performing material was the siloxane-containing composite which reduced the heat release to less than 50% of the value of the neat material. However, upon cycling the composites, all mitigating behavior was lost. The combined results of the flow-through calorimetry, hydrogen capacity, and thermogravimetric analysis tests lead to the proposed conclusion that while the polymer composites have mitigating potential and are physically robust under cycling, they undergo a chemical change upon cycling that makes them ineffective at mitigating heat release upon oxidation of the metal hydride.

Physical Description

55 p.

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  • Report No.: SAND2012-0902
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1118416
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc863592

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  • February 1, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 16, 2016, 12:32 a.m.

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  • Feb. 17, 2017, 4:20 p.m.

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Pratt, Joseph William; Cordaro, Joseph Gabriel; Sartor, George B.; Dedrick, Daniel E. & Reeder, Craig L. Composite Materials for Hazard Mitigation of Reactive Metal Hydrides., report, February 1, 2012; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc863592/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.