General Question

Hamipertus's avatar

Will dehydrated sugar bind to the surface of graphite?

Asked by Hamipertus (28points) March 8th, 2014

Hello there.

I plan to coat graphite with carbon from the dehydration of sugar with concentrated sulfuric acid to produce a carbon/carbon composite. My approach would be to first mix powdered graphite in a sucrose solution then dry the mixture to produce sugar-coated graphite. I would then react the sugar-coated graphite with concentrated sulfuric acid to attempt to leave a carbon coating on the surface of each graphite particle.

My worry is this: I am not sure if this method would indeed leave a carbon coating on the graphite (core) surface. I have read that if the composite was pyrolyzed instead, it would definitely leave a carbon coating on the graphite surface.

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5 Answers

RocketGuy's avatar

You will get loose carbon on graphite. What form is the graphite – sheets or fiber?

The standard way to make carbon/carbon composite is to put goop over the fibers. The goop would be a material that has high carbon content. Heat the stuff in an oxygen-free environment (nitrogen, argon, or vacuum), and let it go.

Hamipertus's avatar

Actually, I intend to use powdered graphite. The composite that I will be producing (if it would indeed form a composite) will be further subjected to additional treatment to improve its porosity (BET surface area and pore volume).

I really plan to just focus on the chemical dehydration using sulfuric acid as my methodology. Actually, this is for my undergraduate research and I want to utilize readily available apparatus and reagents to minimize my expenses. As far as I know, our laboratory doesn’t have a furnace that I could use to pyrolyze the composite.

RocketGuy's avatar

Are you trying to make a filter?

Hamipertus's avatar

Yes. The composite will be tested for its adsorption properties if a composite is formed, and if enough porosity will develop after treatment.

I am tasked with only the porosity development part. If my research yields positive results, then it would be handed over to other students for further testing and/or optimization.

RocketGuy's avatar

If sugar + acid doesn’t work, try organic liquids that are gooey – syrup, veg oil, lard. Then just need heat to get then first stuck onto the graphite.

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