(526g) Textural Characterization of Native and N-Alky-Bonded Silica Monoliths by Mercury Intrusion/extrusion, Inverse Size Exclusion Chromatography and Nitrogen Adsorption

Thommes, M., Quantachrome Instruments
Skudas, R., Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz ,Germany
Unger, K. K., Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz ,Germany
Lubda, D., Merck KGaA

Native and n-alkyl bonded (n-octadecyl) monolithic silica rods with mesopores in the range between 10 and 25 nm and macropores in the range between 1.8 and 6.0 µm were examined by mercury intrusion/extrusion, inverse size exclusion chromatography (ISEC) and nitrogen sorption. Our results reveal very good agreement for the mesopore size distribution obtained from nitrogen adsorption (in combination with an advanced nonlocal density functional theory (NLDFT) analysis and ISEC. Our studies highlight the importance of mercury porosimetry for the assessment of the macropore size distribution. Mercury porosimetry is further the only method, which allows obtaining a combined and comprehensive structural characterization of macroporous/mesoporous silica monoliths.

Furthermore, our data clearly confirm that mercury porosimetry hysteresis and entrapment have different origin, and indicate the intrinsic nature of mercury porosimetry hysteresis in these silica monoliths. Within this context some silica monoliths show the remarkable result of no entrapment of mercury after extrusion from the mesopore system (i.e for the first intrusion/extrusion cycle). The results of a systematic study of the mercury intrusion/extrusion behavior into native silica monoliths and monoliths with bonded n-alkyl groups reveals that the macro (through) pore structure, which controls the mass transfer to and from the mesopores, here mainly controls the entrapment behavior. Our data suggest that mercury intrusion/extrusion porosimetry does not only allow to obtain a comprehensive pore structure analysis, but can also serve as a tool to estimate the mass transport properties of silica monoliths to be employed in liquid phase separation processes.