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Title: Polymer/Pristine graphene based composites: from emulsions to strong, electrically conducting foams

The unique electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties of graphene make it a perfect candidate for applications in graphene/graphite based polymer composites, yet challenges due to the lack of solubility of pristine graphene/graphite in water and common organic solvents have limited its practical utilization. In this paper, we report a scalable and environmentally friendly technique to form water-in-oil type emulsions stabilized by overlapping pristine graphene sheets, enabling the synthesis of open cell foams containing a continuous graphitic network. Our approach utilizes the insolubility of graphene/graphite in both water and organic solvents and so does not require oxidation, reduction, surfactants, high boiling solvents, chemical functionalization, or the input of large amounts of mechanical energy or heat. At the heart of our technique is the strong attraction of graphene to high-energy oil and water interfaces. This allows for the creation of stable water-in-oil emulsions with controlled droplet size and overlapping graphene sheets playing the role of surfactant by covering the droplet surface and stabilizing the interfaces with a thin graphitic skin. Finally, these emulsions are used as templates for the synthesis of open cell foams with densities below 0.35 g/cm3 that exhibit remarkable mechanical and electrical properties including compressive moduli up to ~100more » MPa, compressive strengths of over 8.3 MPa (1200 psi), and bulk conductivities approaching 7 S/m.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1265313
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Macromolecules
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 48; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0024-9297
Publisher:
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE