Transport properties of cyclohexane confined to a silica material with an ordered, bimodal pore structure have been studied by means of pulsed field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance. A particular organization of the well-defined pore structure, composed of a collection of spatially ordered, spherical mesopores interconnected via narrow worm-like pores, allowed for a quantitative analysis of the diffusion process in a medium with spatially ordered distribution of the fluid density for a broad range of the gas-liquid equilibria. The measured diffusion data were interpreted in terms of effective diffusivities, which were determined within a microscopic model considering long-range molecular trajectories constructed by assembling the alternating pieces of displacement in the two constituting pore spaces. It has further been found that for the system under study, in particular, and for mesoporous materials with multiple porosities, in general, this generalized model simplifies to the conventional fast-exchange model used in the literature. Thus, not only was justification of the applicability of the fast-exchange model to a diversity of mesoporous materials provided, but the diffusion parameters entering the fast-exchange model were also exactly defined. The equation resulting in this way was found to nicely reproduce the experimentally determined diffusivities, establishing a methodology for targeted fine-tuning of transport properties of fluids in hierarchical materials with multiple porosities.
P. Zeigermann, S. Naumov, S. Mascotto
Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids