Chemical and Structural Analysis of Carbon Materials Subjected to Alkaline Oxidation

Filipa R. F. Simoes, Edy Abou-Hamad, Jasmin Smajic, Nitin M Batra, Pedro M. F. J. Da Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Redox species such as transition metals may, unknowingly, integrate carbon materials that are produced (or supplied) for the assembling of electrodes in batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells. The extent to which these species alter the electrochemical profile of carbons and affect the performance and/or degradation of energy storage systems is still not fully appreciated. Alkaline oxidation (or fusion) is a promising approach to disintegrate nanocarbons for the subsequent study of their chemical composition by routine analytical tools. In this work, three commercial carbon powders, relevant for electrochemical applications and bearing varied textural orientation (point, radial, and planar), were selected to evaluate the versatility of fusion as a pretreatment process for elemental analysis. Additionally, the interaction of the flux, a lithium borate salt, with the carbons was elucidated by examining their post-fusion residues. The degree of structural degradation varied and, generally, the doping with Li and/or B (whether substitutional or interstitial) was low to nonexistent. With future developments, fusion could become a relevant pretreatment method to analyze the composition of carbon materials, even when complex mixtures (e.g., cycled battery electrodes) and larger batch scales are considered.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18725-18733
Number of pages9
JournalACS Omega
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 30 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): URF/1/2980-01-01
Acknowledgements: The technical assistance of the Analytical Core Lab staff at KAUST is appreciated. The authors thank the advice of Prof Jan Kucera and Dr Jan Kamenik. KAUST is acknowledged for funding (URF/1/2980-01-01).


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