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Issue 43, 2014
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Ice templating synthesis of low-density porous Cu–C nanocomposites

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Abstract

Controlled synthesis of porous metal–carbon nanocomposites is challenging. Here, we describe the fabrication of porous Cu–C nanocomposites by water-ice templating in an aqueous CuSO4 solution with a suspension of graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes. Upon the crystallization of water, the salt and carbon constituents segregate at grain boundaries of water crystallites. Freeze drying (vacuum desiccation) is used to remove water, creating pores. Final Cu–C composites are obtained by thermally-induced reduction of graphene oxide and decomposition of CuSO4. Pore walls in resultant Cu–C foams consist of a random network of reduced graphene oxide sheets and carbon nanotubes decorated with nearly spherical Cu nanoparticles with average diameters tunable in the range of ∼30–80 nm. With this approach, we demonstrate nanoporous Cu–C composites with an ultralow C matrix density of ≳5 mg cm−3 and controllable Cu loading in the range of ∼0–65 wt%. This versatile method could be extended to fabricate other nanoporous metal–carbon composites geared for specific applications. As an example, we demonstrate Ag–C nanocomposites by using AgNO3 instead of CuSO4.

Graphical abstract: Ice templating synthesis of low-density porous Cu–C nanocomposites

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 May 2014, accepted on 20 Sep 2014 and first published on 23 Sep 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4TA02731K
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014,2, 18600-18605
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    Ice templating synthesis of low-density porous Cu–C nanocomposites

    S. Charnvanichborikarn, M. A. Worsley, M. Bagge-Hansen, J. D. Colvin, T. E. Felter and S. O. Kucheyev, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, 2, 18600
    DOI: 10.1039/C4TA02731K

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