Living Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

pp 1-36

Date: Latest Version

Carbon Aerogels

  • Marcus A. WorsleyAffiliated withPhysical and Life Sciences Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Email author 
  • , Theodore F. BaumannAffiliated withPhysical and Life Sciences Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Email author 

Abstract

Carbon aerogels are a unique class of high-surface-area materials derived by sol–gel chemistry. Their high mass-specific surface area and electrical conductivity, environmental compatibility, and chemical inertness make them very promising materials for many applications, such as energy storage, catalysis, sorbents, and desalination. Since the first carbon aerogels were made via pyrolysis of resorcinol-formaldehyde-based organic aerogels, in the late 1980s, the field has really grown. Recently, in addition to RF-derived amorphous carbon aerogels, several other carbon allotropes have been realized in aerogel form: carbon nanotubes, graphene, and diamond. Furthermore, use of the carbon-based aerogels as a platform for making polymer composites has produced order of magnitude improvements in the polymer’s conductive and mechanical properties. Finally, functionalization of these new carbon aerogels via surface engineering has led to a host of interesting composite aerogels that could make aerogels promising candidates for an even wider array of applications. In this chapter, we will present recent work covering the novel synthesis of CNT, graphene, and composite aerogels, as well as their performance in a number of applications.