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Title: Growth of carbon nanotubes on electrospun cellulose fibres for high performance supercapacitors and carbon fibre composites
Author: Li, Qiang
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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The production of cellulose derived hybrid carbon nanofibre (CNF)/carbon nanotubes (CNTs) electrodes for the fabrication of supercapacitors and carbon fibre composites was investigated. The CNTs were grown via a floating catalyst chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method on the top surface of electrospun cellulose derived CNFs. These CNF and CNF/CNTs samples were then used as electrodes to produce liquid electrolyte-based supercapacitors. The growth of CNTs leads to an improvement of electrochemical performance compared to the plain CNFs. This improvement is due to the grown CNTs enlarging the reactive sites through enhanced surface area and porosity, and thereby increasing the conductivity of the system. CNTs have been also grown onto CNFs containing ferrocene and SiC particles. Composites were fabricated by combining the fibres and CNTs grown fibres with model polymers. The stress transfer properties of these materials have been estimated using an in situ Raman spectroscopic method by observing the shift of the Raman band during the tensile deformation of model polymer composites. Using this method, the elastic modulus of CNF/SiC/CNTs fibres has been estimated to be 208 ± 26 GPa. No shifts in the peak positions of bands relating to the carbon structure were obtained for in situ Raman spectroscopic studies of the CNF/CNTs fibres made from the ferrocene embedded fibres. This was thought to be due to the low yield of CNTs on the surface of the fibres. Furthermore, CNF/CNTs electrode-based structural supercapacitors, combining a solid electrolyte with the carbonized fibres, have been produced. These CNF/CNTs electrodes have a better capacitive performance than the plain CNF electrodes. There was a decrease in this performance with increased curing time of the resin, from 2 to 24 h, due to a lack of charge carrier mobility in the latter samples. A Raman spectroscopic study of the deformation of the carbon structures showed that the G-band shift towards a lower wavenumber position for the CNF and CNF/CNTs samples processed at a carbonization temperature of 2000 °C. Moduli of these fibres were estimated to be ~145 GPa and ~271 GPa, respectively, suggesting the growth of CNTs not only enhances the capacitive performance but also the mechanical properties of the structural supercapacitors. No Raman bend shift was found for the CNFs and CNF/CNTs samples processed below a carbonization temperature of 2000 °C, e.g. 900 °C and 1500 °C. This is because the graphitic structures are not well developed at carbonization temperatures below 1500 °C.
Supervisor: Eichhorn, Stephen J. ; Zhu, Yanqiu Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electrospinning ; Carbon nanofibres ; Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) ; Supercapacitors ; Carbon fibre composites