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ACS Nano. 2013 Apr 23;7(4):3589-97. doi: 10.1021/nn400566d. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

Biomass-derived sponge-like carbonaceous hydrogels and aerogels for supercapacitors.

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School of Nuclear Science and Technology, Division of Nanomaterials & Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China , Hefei, Anhui 230026, People's Republic of China.


As a newly developed material, carbon gels have been receiving considerable attention due to their multifunctional properties. Herein, we present a facile, green, and template-free route toward sponge-like carbonaceous hydrogels and aerogels by using crude biomass, watermelon as the carbon source. The obtained three-dimensional (3D) flexible carbonaceous gels are made of both carbonaceous nanofibers and nanospheres. The porous carbonaceous gels (CGs) are highly chemically active and show excellent mechanical flexibility which enable them to be a good scaffold for the synthesis of 3D composite materials. We synthesized the carbonaceous gel-based composite materials by incorporating Fe3O4 nanoparticles into the networks of the carbonaceous gels. The Fe3O4/CGs composites further transform into magnetite carbon aerogels (MCAs) by calcination. The MCAs keep the porous structure of the original CGs, which allows the sustained and stable transport of both electrolyte ions and electrons to the electrode surface, leading to excellent electrochemical performance. The MCAs exhibit an excellent capacitance of 333.1 F·g(-1) at a current density of 1 A·g(-1) within a potential window of -1.0 to 0 V in 6 M KOH solution. Meanwhile, the MCAs also show outstanding cycling stability with 96% of the capacitance retention after 1000 cycles of charge/discharge. These findings open up the use of low-cost elastic carbon gels for the synthesis of other 3D composite materials and show the possibility for the application in energy storage.

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