Cellulose-Derived Highly Porous Three-Dimensional Activated Carbons for Supercapacitors

ACS Omega. 2018 Nov 6;3(11):14933-14941. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.8b02075. eCollection 2018 Nov 30.


A novel "selective surface dissolution" (SSD) method was successfully utilized in previous research to prepare "all-polymer composites" aiming to structural applications. In the current study, this simple, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly method was employed for the first time to synthesize cellulose-derived highly porous three-dimensional (3D) activated carbon materials to assemble superior electrodes for supercapacitors. ZnCl2 aqueous solution was used to partially dissolve the surface of cellulose fibers. The partially dissolved cellulose I crystalline phase at the fiber surface can be consolidated into fibrillar cellulose polymorphs (e.g., cellulose II) which connects remaining fibers together. By a carefully controlled SSD method, a highly porous 3D cellulosic skeleton with interconnected bridge-like fibrillar linkages and hierarchical pore structures can be created. After carbonization, the 3D fiber construct with interconnected fibrillar linkages and hierarchical pore structures remains and highly porous activated carbons were obtained. The effects of various processing parameters (e.g., solvent concentration, immersion time, etc.) on the morphology of the as-formed activated porous carbons and their electrochemical performance as electrodes in supercapacitors were systematically investigated and discussed. It was concluded that the SSD method is a promising chemical approach to produce large-scale cellulose-derived activated porous carbons in an environmentally friendly manner.