Melting of Magnesium Borohydride under High Hydrogen Pressure: Thermodynamic Stability and Effects of Nanoconfinement

James White, Nicholas Strange, Joshua Sugar, Jonathan Snider, Andreas Schneemann, Andrew Lipton, Michael Toney, Mark Allendorf, Vitalie Stavila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus Citations


The thermodynamic stability and melting point of magnesium borohydride were probed under hydrogen pressures up to 1000 bar (100 MPa) and temperatures up to 400 °C. At 400 °C, Mg(BH4)2 was found to be chemically stable between 700 and 1000 bar H2, whereas under 350 bar H2 or lower pressures, the bulk material partially decomposed into MgH2 and MgB12H12. The melting point of solvent-free Mg(BH4)2 was estimated to be 367–375 °C, which was above previously reported values by 40–90 °C. Our results indicated that a high hydrogen backpressure is needed to prevent the decomposition of Mg(BH4)2 before measuring the melting point and that molten Mg(BH4)2 can exist as a stable liquid phase between 367 and 400 °C under hydrogen overpressures of 700 bar or above. The occurrence of a pure molten Mg(BH4)2 phase enabled efficient melt-infiltration of Mg(BH4)2 into the pores of porous templated carbons (CMK-3 and CMK-8) and graphene aerogels. Both transmission electron microscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering confirmed efficient incorporation of the borohydride into the carbon pores. The Mg(BH4)2@carbon samples exhibited comparable hydrogen capacities to bulk Mg(BH4)2 upon desorption up to 390 °C based on the mass of the active component; the onset of hydrogen release was reduced by 15–25 °C compared to the bulk. Importantly, melt-infiltration under hydrogen pressure was shown to be an efficient way to introduce metal borohydrides into the pores of carbon-based materials, helping to prevent particle agglomeration and formation of stable closo-polyborate byproducts.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5604-5615
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-77927


  • aerogels
  • byproducts
  • carbon
  • high resolution transmission electron microscopy
  • hydrogen
  • thermodynamic stability


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