Structural characterization of nano-crystalline Co3O4 ultra-fine fibers obtained by sol–gel electrospinning
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In this paper, we report the obtention of ultrafine fibers of cobalt oxide (Co3O4) by combining electrospinning method with high-temperature calcinations from the precursor sol of poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) (PEtOx)/cobalt acetate tetrahydrate [Co(CH3COO)2·4H2O] in water. The optimum electrospinning conditions for obtaining precursor composite nanofibers from PEtOx/Co(CH3COO)2·4H2O solution in water, to produce ceramic nanofibers, were studied. The average fiber diameter of the precursor composite fibers measured by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was approximately 200 nm. Thermogravimetric analysis of PEtOx was performed to estimate the suitable calcination temperature of the precursor fibers. SEM images of the ceramic fibers obtained after calcination revealed the shrinkage in diameter due to complete degradation of the polymer and Co(CH3COO)2·4H2O. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to ensure the complete pyrolysis of polymer during calcinations of the composite fibers. Crystalline properties of the ceramic fibers were studied by X-ray diffraction and high resolution transmission electron microscopy. The ceramic fibers are polycrystalline with an average grain size of ≈40 nm obtained at a calcination temperature of 773 K. It was observed that the grain sizes increased as the calcination temperature was increased, due to self assembly mechanism.
KeywordsOxide ceramics Sol–gel process Electrospinning Calcination
Gibin George would like to thank the department of metallurgical and materials engineering, National Institute of Technology of Karnataka (NITK), India for a research fellowship. The authors thank Ms. U. Rashmi and Mr. Prasanth Huilgol and Mr. T. Senthil for their valuable assistance in scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction, respectively.
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