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Title: On the synthesis and structure of resorcinol-formaldehyde polymeric networks – Precursors to 3D-carbon macroassemblies

With the new impetus towards the development of hierarchical graphene and CNT macro-assemblies for application in fields such as advanced energy storage, catalysis and electronics; there is much renewed interest in organic carbon-based sol–gel processes as a synthetically convenient and versatile means of forming three dimensional, covalently bonded organic/inorganic networks. Such matrices can act as highly effective precursors, scaffolds or molecular ‘glues’ for the assembly of a wide variety of functional carbon macro-assemblies. However, despite the utility and broad use of organic sol–gel processes – such as the ubiquitous resorcinol-formaldehyde (RF) reaction, there are details of the reaction chemistries of these important sol–gel processes that remain poorly understood at present. It is therefore both timely and necessary to examine these reactions in more detail using modern analytical techniques in order to gain a more rigorous understanding of the mechanisms by which these organic networks form. The goal of such studies is to obtain improved and rational control over the organic network structure, in order to better direct and tailor the architecture of the final inorganic carbon matrix. In this study we have investigated in detail, the mechanism of the organic sol–gel network forming reaction of resorcinol and formaldehyde from amore » structural and kinetic standpoint, by using a combination of real-time high field solution state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), low field NMR relaxometry and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). These investigations have allowed us to track the network formation processes in real-time, gain both detailed structural information on the mechanisms of the RF sol–gel process and a quantitative assessment of the kinetics of the global network formation process. Here, it has been shown that the mechanism, by which the RF organic network forms, proceeds via an initial exothermic step correlated to the formation of a free aromatic aldehyde. The network growth reaction then proceeds in a statistical manner following a first order Arrhenius type kinetic relationship – characteristic of a typical thermoset network poly-condensation process. Finally, despite the relative complexity and ill-defined nature of the formaldehyde staring material, the final network structure is to a large extent, governed by the substitution pattern of the resorcinol molecule.« less
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  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0032-3861
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Accepted Manuscript
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Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 69; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0032-3861
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
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Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1254224