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Characterisation of Porous Materials at Controlled Temperatures

To meet a growing need for temperature-specific measurement capabilities in porous materials characterisation, Oxford Instruments and Quantachrome Instruments (Boynton Beach FL) have collaborated in developing a new cryostat specially designed to provide the precise temperature control required for gas sorption studies. The new cryostat gives researchers the ability to easily perform gas sorption studies at any temperature between 77 K and 200 K (-320°F and -100°F) using only liquid nitrogen as a cryogen, with a 24-hour hold time to enable round-the-clock experiments.

Because the structure and reactivity of solid materials determines how their surfaces interact with gas molecules, monitoring the gas sorption process can provide valuable information about the characteristics of technologically useful solids. Routine evaluation of important materials properties that control their performance – such as surface area, size and shape of pores, chemically active sites, and many others – is possible by quantifying the gas–solid interactions through isothermal gas sorption measurements.

This advance in gas sorption capability allows scientists to make measurements across a wide range of temperatures, without the usual restriction of having only a limited number of specific temperatures using baths of different cryogenic liquids or melting solids. For example, high resolution micro/mesopore analysis by argon adsorption can be performed at 87 K without expense of liquid argon.

Dr Martin A Thomas, Director of Business Development at Quantachrome, comments, "In response to a growing need in the world of porous materials characterisation for specialised temperature applications, Quantachrome approached Oxford Instruments to develop a customised cryostat because of their recognised expertise in this field of low temperature control." Quantachrome unveiled the new jointly-developed product at the recent Pittcon 2008 Exposition held in New Orleans, 3-6 March 2008.

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