Book Review: Magnetic Resonance in Studying Natural and Synthetic Materials

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is a spectroscopic technique of unsurpassed versatility. Medical doctors and the public know is as MRI for magnetic resonance imaging. Chemists cannot do without NMR spectroscopy for chemical analysis. But there is third important use of NMR. This is for materials characterization by measurements of relaxation and diffusion. These quantities report the molecular rotational and translational degrees of freedom, and in addition to hydrogen density determine the contrast in MRI. The yield of oilfields is optimized with data acquired with NMR relaxometers that are lowered down the boreholes and measure the NMR signals from the fluids in the borehole wall. The same measurement techniques yield valuable information on a wide class of other solid materials whose properties are determined by their interaction with a mobile liquid phase on a microscopic scale. This is the topic of Dr. Rodin’s book. It addresses the role of water in a selection of important natural and synthetic materials as seen by NMR.

Following an introduction into the principles of NMR and experimental techniques Dr. Rodin reports studies of natural polymers, synthetic polymers and concrete in ten chapters. These studies have been for a long time in the focus of the author’s scientific work. The selected materials are silk fibers, collagen fibers, wet and dry wood, selected copolymers in solution and cast as films, and cement pastes. These materials are typically macroscopically anisotropic, so that the measured data depend on the local molecular order and orientation of the sample. The main tools of investigation are relaxation measurements, diffusion measurements, 2D diffusion exchange measurements, and double-quantum filtered spectroscopy in addition to spectroscopic and imaging measurements. They provide unprecedented insights into the molecular details of theses complex materials.

As such the book provides an interesting selection of cases of materials studies by NMR which places the focus on physical rather than on chemical phenomena. The book is a helpful asset to those interested in understanding the interactions of water in disordered and oriented materials in detail on a molecular level. Although the first chapter introduces the main NMR phenomena and techniques, the reader should be familiar with NMR to fully appreciate the depth of analysis or be ready to consult the cited literature. The text is written in understandable English, and some of the figures, in particular those that show images, could have benefitted from explanatory annotations such as space scales. Nevertheless, the book is a worthwhile collection of NMR studies on water interactions in porous materials and as such provides interesting reading about a niche of NMR which is not as extensively covered by books and reviews as MRI and spectroscopy.

Dr. Bernhard Blümich,
RWTH Aachen University,
Aachen, Germany


Book Information:

Title: Magnetic Resonance in Studying Natural and Synthetic Materials

Author: Victor Rodin

eISBN: 978-1-68108-629-3
ISBN: 978-1-68108-630-9

Publication Year: 2018

Website link:



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