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Probing basal planes and edge sites in polygranular nuclear graphite by gas adsorption: Estimation of active surface area...

by Nidia C Gallego, Jose' D Arregui Mena, Cristian I Contescu
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633 to 645

Polygranular nuclear graphite, manufactured at 2800–3000 °C from a carbonized filler and binder mix, has high graphitization degree, crystalline structure close to perfect graphite, and about 20% porosity. The pore surfaces expose large regions of rough, defective prismatic edges of graphite crystallites which are the locus of graphite materials surface sites active for oxidation, chemisorption, and electron transfer. However, we show that high-resolution N2 and Kr first monolayer adsorption on polygranular graphite (P/P0 < 0.015) occurs in many ways like adsorption on graphitized carbon blacks. This proves the presence of energetically homogeneous basal planes domains in graphite porosity, which was not fully acknowledged before. Using classical analysis methods (Langmuir, Hill-de Boer, adsorption potential distribution) we quantity the basal plane area (BPA) of several polygranular graphite types and correlate it with their microstructure. We propose that gas adsorption is uniquely positioned to reliably estimate the active surface area of graphite by subtracting BPA from the BET total surface area. Direct estimation based on adsorption is preferable to indirect calculations based on microstructural information.