Microstructure and activation characteristics of Mg-Ni alloy modified by multi-walled carbon nanotubes
An Mg–6 wt% Ni alloy was fabricated by a casting technique and the drilled chips ball-milled by high energy ball milling to be examined for their hydrogenation modified with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The activation characteristics of ball-milled alloy are compared with those of the materials obtained by ball milling with 5 wt% MWCNTs for 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10 h. MWCNTs enhanced the absorption kinetics considerably in all cases. The hydrogen content of the modified powder with MWCNTs reached maximum hydrogen capacity within 2 min of exposure to hydrogen at 370 °C and 2 MPa pressure. X-ray diffraction analysis provided evidence that no carbon-containing phase was formed during milling. However, milling with MWCNTs reduced the crystallite size, even if the milling was carried out for only an hour. The rate-controlling steps of the hydriding reactions at different milling times were determined by fitting the respective kinetic equations. Evidence is provided that nucleation and growth of hydrides are accelerated drastically by a homogenous distribution of MWCNTs on the surface of the ball-milled powders. We show that MWCNTs are very effective at promoting the hydriding/dehydriding kinetics, as well as in increasing the hydrogen capacity of the magnesium alloy.