Carbon gels with tuned properties for catalysis and energy storage
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Mesoporous carbon materials are required for many applications, in order to avoid the diffusional limitations that occur with conventional activated carbons when processing large molecules or ions. The most rewarding approaches for the synthesis of mesoporous carbons involve sol–gel chemistry or the use of templates. Thus, carbon gels are obtained by polymerization of hydroxybenzenes and aldehydes by sol–gel processing, while ordered mesoporous carbons can be obtained from the same precursors in the presence of templates. In both cases, the textural properties of these nanostructured carbons can be easily adjusted by adequate selection of the synthesis variables. Their surface chemical properties can be modified by doping with heteroatoms and functionalization with surface groups. This can be done during the synthesis, or by subsequent treatments. The possibility of tuning both the texture and the surface chemistry is essential for the development of high-performance carbon materials that meet the requirements of the targeted applications. Recent advances and challenges related to the preparation of nanostructured carbon gels will be reviewed, together with relevant examples of their application in catalysis and energy storage.
KeywordsCarbon gels Sol–gel processing Templating Nanostructured mesoporous carbons Surface chemistry Functionalization
Projects “AIProcMat@N2020—Advanced Industrial Processes and Materials for a Sustainable Northern Region of Portugal 2020”, ref. NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000006, supported by Norte Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the Portugal 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006984—Associate Laboratory LSRE-LCM funded by ERDF through COMPETE2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI)—and by national funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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