Synthesis of Porous and Mechanically Compliant Carbon Aerogels Using Conductive and Structural Additives
García, Tomás E.
Zafra, Maria C.
Lavela Cabello, Pedro
Tirado Coello, José Luis
Ania, Conchi O.
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We report the synthesis of conductive and mechanically compliant monolithic carbon aerogels prepared by sol-gel polycondensation of melamine-resorcinol-formaldehyde (MRF) mixtures by incorporating diatomite and carbon black additives. The resulting aerogels composites displayed a well-developed porous structure, confirming that the polymerization of the precursors is not impeded in the presence of either additive. The aerogels retained the porous structure after etching off the siliceous additive, indicating adequate cross-linking of the MRF reactants. However, the presence of diatomite caused a significant fall in the pore volumes, accompanied by coarsening of the average pore size (predominance of large mesopores and macropores). The diatomite also prevented structural shrinkage and deformation of the as-prepared monoliths upon densification by carbonization, even after removal of the siliceous framework. The rigid pristine aerogels became more flexible upon incorporation of the diatomite, favoring implementation of binderless monolithic aerogel electrodes.