The effect of ZnCl2 activation on microwave absorbing performance in walnut shell-derived nano-porous carbon
Porous carbon has been expected to be a potential candidate as a lightweight and efficient microwave absorber. Nano-porous carbon carbonized directly from a walnut shell exhibits narrow microwave absorption frequency bandwidth, while the activation process can adjust the pore structure and optimize the microwave absorption performance. Herein, porous carbon materials were successfully prepared using walnut shells as precursors and ZnCl2 as the activating agent. The superior microwave absorption performances of the as-prepared samples could be attributed to the well-developed pore structures and the enhanced dielectric loss capacities of the samples. The interfacial polarization in the walls of the pores and the defects in the samples significantly contributed to the enhancement of the dielectric loss capacities of the samples. In this work, the broadband microwave absorbing porous carbon exhibited an effective absorption bandwidth (reflection loss ≤ −10 dB) of 7.2 GHz (ranging from 10.8 GHz to 18.0 GHz) when the absorber thickness was 2.5 mm. In addition, an effective absorption bandwidth of 6.0 GHz (ranging from 11.4 GHz to 17.4 GHz) could also be achieved when the absorber thickness was only 2.0 mm. The samples exhibited low densities, strong microwave absorption performances and wide effective absorption bandwidths with thin absorber thicknesses, due to which they have a great potential as lightweight and efficient microwave absorbers.