High surface area and interconnected nanoporosity of clay-rich astromaterialsOPEN ACCESS 

Laurence A. J. Garvie, László Trif, Desireé Cotto-Figueroa, Erik Asphaug & Christian G. Hoover

Scientific Reports, Volume 14, Article number: 10358


“Porosity affects key astromaterial processes from disruption in our atmosphere and impact with the ground, to the comminution of boulders by thermal and impact processes and slope mechanics on asteroid surfaces, to access and utilization of in-situ resources. Whereas the bulk porosity of clay-rich meteorites is well established, the magnitude of their surface area and nano-scale porosity is poorly known. Here we use N2 BET gas adsorption to measure the specific surface area and nanoscale pore distribution in several clay-rich meteorites. Two recent falls Tarda (C2-ung) and Aguas Zarcas (CM2) have specific surface areas of 72.5 and 16.5 m2/g, respectively. However, the specific surface area of Tarda ranges from 33.7 to 81.6 m2/g depending on outgassing conditions. The Tarda surface area is dominated by an interconnected network of ~ 3-nm-sized pores, whereas Aguas Zarcas shows a lower density of ~ 3 nm pores and broader size distribution around 40 nm. In contrast, Ivuna and Orgueil (CI1) have surface areas of ~ 15 to 18 m2/g: the low values compared to Tarda are likely due to the neoformation of pore-blocking minerals during atmospheric exposure. These data suggest that returned samples from asteroids Ryugu and Bennu, which are mineralogically and texturally similar to Tarda, also have interconnected nano-scale porosity with high surface area.”