(590a) Morphological Evolution of Polyfurfuryl Alcohol Derived Carbon Spheres Assisted by Emulsion Polymerization of Furfuryl Alcohol

Peer, M. - Presenter, Pennsylvania State University
Qajar, A., PennState University
Rajagopalan, R., Penn State University
Foley, H. C., Pennsylvania State University

Morphological evolution of polyfurfuryl alcohol derived carbon spheres assisted by emulsion polymerization of furfuryl alcohol


Carbon materials with controlled porosity derived from polymer precursors have been used in a wide range of applications such as catalysis, gas adsorption, membrane separation and electrochemical capacitors [1-8]. A key feature in these carbons which affects their performance in different applications is the surface area and pore size distribution. However, control of morphology and external properties and tailoring size and shape of porous carbonaceous materials is as important as the internal properties. In applications like catalysis, the rate of mass transfer of gases or liquids in the pores can be enhanced by controlling the size of the primary particles of the catalyst support. Emulsion polymerization is used as a common approach to synthesize polymeric particles at nano scale. In this method, a surfactant usually acts as the structure directing agent. Type of the surfactant and the monomer, composition of the mixture to start with and the synthesis condition affect the morphology and size of the final material [9-12].

In this investigation, we report a systematic study on the formation of carbon spheres using emulsion polymerization of furfuryl alcohol in the presence of Pluronic F-127 as the surfactant, followed by pyrolysis of resultant polyfurfuryl alcohol structure. Carbon spheres with the average size of 50 nm to few microns were synthesized using this approach. The pseudo-ternary phase diagram of furfuryl alcohol/surfactant/solvent mixture was developed to outline other possible morphological structures of the synthesized carbon. The effect of different synthesis parameters like polymerization initiator (HCl) concentration, surfactant and monomer concentration and solvent composition (water/ethanol) on the micelle formation, polymerization and polymer crosslinking and finally the size and morphology of the final carbonaceous structure was studied.


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