Low-cost 3D porous graphene scaffold for energy applications
Three-dimensional (3D) graphene-based structures such as graphene aerogels or foams have shown applications in energy, environmental matters, and many other areas. To this end, a number of methods have been developed to prepare graphene aerogels or foams, for example, solution assembly of graphene oxide sheets or chemical vapour deposition (CVD) on porous metallic templates. However, these fabrication procedures are complicated and expensive which are the bottlenecks of 3D graphene applications.
This project aims to demonstrate the viability of low-cost 3D graphene as a highly conductive flexible structure that can be used in energy storage. 3D foam-like graphene macrostructures, which is called graphene scaffold (GS), will be fabricated by a template-directed solid-state reaction. Under the catalysis of the in situ formed catalytic interface, the amorphous carbon layer which arousing from the pyrolysis of low-cost carbon sources can be effectively transformed into a graphene sheets among template particles. After template particles were removed, a GS will be prepared consisting of an interconnected flexible network of graphene as the fast transport channel of charge carriers for high electrical conductivity. With wide raw material sources and simple preparation method, the low-cost porous GS will find wide practical application prospects for supercapacitors or batteries.
Funding covers tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of at least the Research Council minimum (currently £14,057) for eligible UK and EU applicants. EU nationals must have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the programme to be eligible for a full award (fees and stipend). Other EU nationals may be eligible for a fees-only award.
Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in Materials Science or a relevant physical science subject.