Overcoming the barrier to graphitization in a polymer-derived nanoporous carbon

Christopher L. Burket, Ramakrishnan Rajagopalan, Henry C. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


A new pathway to synthesize a carbon with both nanoporosity and pre-graphitic structures has been discovered by annealing at 2000 °C a CO2 activated, non-graphitizing, nanoporous carbon originally derived from polyfurfuryl alcohol. The activation process with CO2 overcomes the barrier to graphitization normally present in this carbon even when treated at high temperature. Gas adsorption analysis, skeletal density measurements, X-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy are utilized to probe the structure of both the non-activated and the activated carbons at 800, 1200, 1800, and 2000 °C. The influence of activation time is also examined. Prior to activation the nanopore walls are comprised of several layers of disordered graphenes. Activation eliminates the barrier to graphitization by reducing the number of layers below the limit of detection and by removing carbon material highly susceptible to oxidation. Annealing at 2000 °C of the carbon activated to 84% burnoff induces the formation of pre-graphitic domains amongst the nanoporous carbon. The (0 0 2) bands corresponding to 2θ = 24.3°, 26°, and 26.5° are identified and assigned to amorphous, turbostratic, and graphitic morphologies. A pore volume of 0.50 cm3 g-1 localized in pores below 2 nm in size is preserved after annealing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-510
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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