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Electro-Exfoliation of Graphite to Graphene in an Aqueous Solution of Inorganic Salt and the Stabilization of Its Sponge Structure with Poly(Furfuryl Alcohol)

1
Faculty of Chemistry, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Gagarina 7, 87-100 Torun, Poland
2
Centre for Modern Interdisciplinary Technologies, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Wilenska 4, 87-100 Torun, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(7), 971; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9070971
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 29 June 2019 / Published: 3 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials: Selected Papers from CCMR 2019)
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Abstract

We demonstrate an accessible and effective technique for exfoliating graphite foil and graphite powder into graphene in a water solution of inorganic salt. In our research, we report an electrochemical cathodic exfoliation in an aqueous solution of Na2SO4. After electro-exfoliation, the resulting graphene was premixed with furfuryl alcohol (FA) and an inorganic template (CaCO3 and Na2CO3). Once FA was polymerized to poly(furfuryl alcohol) (PFA), the mixture was carbonized. Carbon bridges originating in thermally-decomposed PFA joined exfoliated graphene flakes and stabilized the whole sponge-type structure after the nano-template was removed. Gases evolved at the graphite electrode (cathode) played an important role in the process of graphene-flake splitting and accelerated the change of graphite into graphene flakes. Starting graphite materials and graphene sponges were characterized using Raman spectroscopy, SEM, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), elemental analysis, and low-temperature adsorption of nitrogen to determine their structure, morphology, and chemical composition. The discovered manufacturing protocol had a positive influence on the specific surface area and porosity of the sponges. The SEM and HRTEM studies confirmed a high separation degree of graphite and different agglomeration pathways. Raman spectra were analyzed with particular focus on the intensities of ID and IG peaks; the graphene-type nature of the sponges was confirmed. View Full-Text
Keywords: graphene; electrochemical exfoliation; aqueous solution; poly(furfuryl alcohol); Raman spectroscopy; graphite electrode graphene; electrochemical exfoliation; aqueous solution; poly(furfuryl alcohol); Raman spectroscopy; graphite electrode
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ilnicka, A.; Skorupska, M.; Kamedulski, P.; Lukaszewicz, J.P. Electro-Exfoliation of Graphite to Graphene in an Aqueous Solution of Inorganic Salt and the Stabilization of Its Sponge Structure with Poly(Furfuryl Alcohol). Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 971.

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