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Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division (I)


Number: 2006-021-2-100

Title: Liquid intrusion and alternative methods for the characterization of macroporous solids

Task Group
: Jean Rouquerol

Members: Gino Baron, Renaud Denoyel, Herbert Giesche, Johan Groen, Peter Klobes, Pierre Levitz, Alex Neimark, Sean Rigby, Kenneth S.W. Sing, Matthias Thommes, and Klaus Unger

To analyse the various liquid intrusion techniques available to-day to assess the pore-size of materials (with special attention to the pores above 50 nm width), together with other alternatives, in order to provide (i) a critical and comparative appraisal and (ii) an appreciation about the ways which should be favoured and developed to solve the issue described hereafter.

The issue raised was made clear at the occasion of the 1st International Workshop on Macro/Mesopore Analysis: Mercury Porosimetry and Alternative Liquid Penetration Techniques organized by M. Thommes and R. Denoyel in Aix-en-Provence (30-31 May 2005): it is all at once environmental and technical.

The principal method used today to analyse the macropore range (i.e. above 50 nm width) is indeed the mercury intrusion method, where the handling of mercury, the inevitable spills and the need to recycle the mercury polluted by the sample do raise a health and environmental problem. Both the improvement of the mercury intrusion approach and its replacement by other methods raise technical issues.

The aim of this project is to provide a first step towards satisfactory answers, by listing, examining and evaluating all trials already made in the field. These include the intrusion of safer liquids (other molten metals, water, organics…) and also the extension of the analysis of capillary condensation data up to the macropore range where, for technical reasons it was, until recently, considered inapplicable. In any case, the need of improvement and/or of alternative methods is urgent. By clarifying the situation, this project should help selecting and developing the most promising approaches. The issue concerns most scientists and industrialists working with porous materials (catalysts, pharmaceuticals, building materials, stones of ancient monuments to be restored or protected, adsorbents for chromatography, liquid purification or gas separation …) and it needs an evaluation accepted and used by all persons involved all over the world.

(project initiated on 30 Sep 2006)


Last update: 30 September 2006

<project announcement published in Chem. Int Jan-Feb 2007, p. 17>


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