Studies of the mechanical and extreme hydrothermal properties of periodic mesoporous silica and aluminosilica materials


In order to assess the suitability of mesoporous materials for applications in energy harvesting/storage processes occurring under extreme conditions, their mechanical, thermal and hydrothermal properties need to be fully investigated. In this study, the bulk mechanical and extreme hydrothermal properties of periodic mesoporous SBA-15 type silica and SBA-15 type aluminosilica (Al-SBA-15) were investigated using in situ small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS). In situ SAXS measurements were made on dry mesoporous SBA-15 silica and Al-SBA-15 aluminosilica samples as a function of pressure (at room temperature) to ∼ 12 GPa and on the same mesoporous materials under extreme hydrothermal conditions (to 255 °C and ∼114 MPa) using the diamond anvil cell (DAC). The analyses of the high-pressure SAXS data indicate that the mesoporous Al-SBA-15 aluminosilica has substantially greater bulk mechanical stability (isothermal bulk modulus κ = 34.7(4.5) GPa) than the mesoporous SBA-15 silica (κ = 12.0(3.0) GPa). Our molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are able to accurately model the bulk mechanical stability properties of mesoporous SBA-15 silica but underestimate the same properties of Al-SBA-15 aluminosilica. Analysis of the in situ SAXS data measured under extreme hydrothermal conditions indicates swelling of the pore walls due to water incorporation that is more significant in mesoporous Al-SBA-15 aluminosilica (∼2x) than in SBA-15 silica. In addition, the Al-SBA-15 aluminosilica clearly exhibits superior hydrothermal stability compared to SBA-15 silica under the extreme experimental temperature and pressure conditions.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Document Type





mesoporous silica, mesoporous aluminosilica, mechanical stability, hydrothermal stability, small-angle X-ray diffraction

Publication Date


Journal Title

Microporous and Mesoporous Materials