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


Yun Hang Hu


Traditional transportation fuel, petroleum, is limited and nonrenewable, and it also causes pollutions. Hydrogen is considered one of the best alternative fuels for transportation. The key issue for using hydrogen as fuel for transportation is hydrogen storage. Lithium nitride (Li3N) is an important material which can be used for hydrogen storage. The decompositions of lithium amide (LiNH2) and lithium imide (Li2NH) are important steps for hydrogen storage in Li3N. The effect of anions (e.g. Cl-) on the decomposition of LiNH2 has never been studied. Li3N can react with LiBr to form lithium nitride bromide Li13N4Br which has been proposed as solid electrolyte for batteries.

The decompositions of LiNH2 and Li2NH with and without promoter were investigated by using temperature programmed decomposition (TPD) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. It was found that the decomposition of LiNH2 produced Li2NH and NH3 via two steps: LiNH2 into a stable intermediate species (Li1.5NH1.5) and then into Li2NH. The decomposition of Li2NH produced Li, N2 and H2 via two steps: Li2NH into an intermediate species --- Li4NH and then into Li. The kinetic analysis of Li2NH decomposition showed that the activation energies are 533.6 kJ/mol for the first step and 754.2 kJ/mol for the second step. Furthermore, XRD demonstrated that the Li4NH, which was generated in the decomposition of Li2NH, formed a solid solution with Li2NH. In the solid solution, Li4NH possesses a similar cubic structure as Li2NH. The lattice parameter of the cubic Li4NH is 0.5033nm.

The decompositions of LiNH2 and Li2NH can be promoted by chloride ion (Cl-). The introduction of Cl- into LiNH2 resulted in the generation of a new NH3 peak at low temperature of 250 °C besides the original NH3 peak at 330 °C in TPD profiles. Furthermore, Cl- can decrease the decomposition temperature of Li2NH by about 110 °C.

The degradation of Li3N was systematically investigated with techniques of XRD, Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, and UV-visible spectroscopy. It was found that O2 could not affect Li3N at room temperature. However, H2O in air can cause the degradation of Li3N due to the reaction between H2O and Li3N to LiOH. The produced LiOH can further react with CO2 in air to Li2CO3 at room temperature. Furthermore, it was revealed that Alfa-Li3N is more stable in air than Beta-Li3N.

The chemical stability of Li13N4Br in air has been investigated by XRD, TPD-MS, and UV-vis absorption as a function of time. The aging process finally leads to the degradation of the Li13N4Br into Li2CO3, lithium bromite (LiBrO2) and the release of gaseous NH3. The reaction order n = 2.43 is the best fitting for the Li13N4Br degradation in air reaction. Li13N4Br energy gap was calculated to be 2.61 eV.