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Synthesis of hierarchically porous MgO monoliths with continuous structure via sol–gel process accompanied by phase separation


Hierarchically porous magnesium oxide, MgO, monoliths with a well-defined continuous macroporous structure have been synthesized via the sol–gel route accompanied by phase separation. Magnesium chloride hexahydrate was used as a precursor, and propylene oxide was used as an acid scavenger to raise the pH of a reaction solution homogenously. In order to obtain a crack-free monolith after heating in air, poly(vinylpyrrolidone), PVP, was employed as a scaffold of the skeleton as well as a phase separation controller to form the continuous macropores with higher homogeneity. Due to the moderate hydrogen-bonding interaction with magnesium hydroxide, PVP reinforces the gel network essentially composed of fine grained magnesium hydroxide. Even after the removal of all organic components by calcination, the porous gel samples maintained their monolithic form. On the other hand, an additional incorporation of 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylic acid, H3BTC, was found to be effective in suppressing the oriented growth of the micrometer-sized crystalline phase. The polycrystalline MgO monoliths with specific surface area of 185, 64, and 48 m2 g−1 were prepared after heating at 400, 500, and 600 °C in air, respectively.

Appearances (upper) and SEM images(lower) of monolithic MgO-based gel before and after heat-treatment.

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The present study has been performed under financial supports from Advanced Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program (ALCA, Japan Science and Technology Agency).

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kazuki Nakanishi.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information


  • Hierarchically porous magnesium oxide (divalent metal oxide) monoliths with three-dimension network structure are synthesized.

  • The network structure can be preserved after heat treatment under oxidative conditions.

  • The fraction of pores larger than 30 nm can be controlled by addition of 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylic acid.

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Lu, X., Kanamori, K. & Nakanishi, K. Synthesis of hierarchically porous MgO monoliths with continuous structure via sol–gel process accompanied by phase separation. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol 89, 29–36 (2019).

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  • Magnesium oxide
  • Sol–gel
  • Phase separation
  • Hierarchical pore structure
  • Monoliths