Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Jiann-Yang Hwang


The rising concerns about environmental pollution and global warming have facilitated research interest in hydrogen energy as an alternative energy source. To apply hydrogen for transportations, several issues have to be solved, within which hydrogen storage is the most critical problem. Lots of materials and devices have been developed; however, none is able to meet the DOE storage target. The primary issue for hydrogen physisorption is a weak interaction between hydrogen and the surface of solid materials, resulting negligible adsorption at room temperature. To solve this issue, there is a need to increase the interaction between the hydrogen molecules and adsorbent surface. In this study, intrinsic electric dipole is investigated to enhance the adsorption energy. The results from the computer simulation of single ionic compounds with hydrogen molecules to form hydrogen clusters showed that electrical charge of substances plays an important role in generation of attractive interaction with hydrogen molecules. In order to further examine the effects of static interaction on hydrogen adsorption, activated carbon with a large surface area was impregnated with various ionic salts including LiCl, NaCl, KCl, KBr, and NiCl and their performance for hydrogen storage was evaluated by using a volumetric method. Corresponding computer simulations have been carried out by using DFT (Density Functional Theory) method combined with point charge arrays. Both experimental and computational results prove that the adsorption capacity of hydrogen and its interaction with the solid materials increased with electrical dipole moment. Besides the intrinsic dipole, an externally applied electric field could be another means to enhance hydrogen adsorption. Hydrogen adsorption under an applied electric field was examined by using porous nickel foil as electrodes. Electrical signals showed that adsorption capacity increased with the increasing of gas pressure and external electric voltage. Direct measurement of the amount of hydrogen adsorption was also carried out with porous nickel oxides and magnesium oxides using the piezoelectric material PMN-PT as the charge supplier due to the pressure. The adsorption enhancement from the PMN-PT generated charges is obvious at hydrogen pressure between 0 and 60 bars, where the hydrogen uptake is increased at about 35% for nickel oxide and 25% for magnesium oxide. Computer simulation reveals that under the external electric field, the electron cloud of hydrogen molecules is pulled over to the adsorbent site and can overlap with the adsorbent electrons, which in turn enhances the adsorption energy Experiments were also carried out to examine the effects of hydrogen spillover with charge induced enhancement. The results show that the overall storage capacity in nickel oxide increased remarkably by a factor of 4.