Reversible High Pressure sp²-sp³ Transformations in Carbon


The most striking aspect of the high pressure behaviour of carbon is its tendency to rehybridize from sp or sp2 bonding towards sp3 bonding. Rehybridization of graphite under high-pressure-high-temperature conditions is well-known and exploited in the commercial synthesis of diamond abrasives. The transformation to the thermodynamically stable cubic diamond phase is greatly aided by the presence of a catalyst, such as iron or nickel. In the absence of catalyst, hexagonal or lonsdaleite diamond is formed illustrating the possibilities for synthesis of thermodynamically metastable phases during carbon transformations. We have research interests in the metastable materials formed by compression of solids and molecules containing carbon and hydrogen storage in carbon. Here we review a longstanding unsolved problem, the nature of the sp3 bonded "transparent phase" of carbon, as well as speculate regarding the possibilities for exploiting reversible sp2-sp3 bonding transformations in carbon based hydrogen storage materials.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Hydrogen storage; Metastable phases; Phase transitions; Synthesis (chemical); Diamond abrasives; High pressure behavior; Metastable materials; Rehybridization; Carbon; Diamond; Graphite; High pressure

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Article - Journal

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© 2007 Taylor & Francis, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2007