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A study on the physicochemical properties of hydroalcoholic solutions to improve the direct exfoliation of natural graphite down to few-layers graphene

Authors/others:Fedi, FilippoMiglietta, Maria LuciaPolichetti, TizianaRicciardella, FilibertoMassera, EttoreNinno, DomenicoDi Francia, Girolamo
Abstract:Straightforward methods to produce pristine graphene flakes in large quantities are based on the liquid-phase exfoliation processes. These one-step physical transformations of graphite into graphene offer many unique advantages. To date, a large number of liquids have been employed as exfoliation media exploiting their thermodynamic and chemical features as compared to those of graphene. Here, we pursued the goal of realizing water based mixtures to exfoliate graphite and disperse graphene without the aid of surfactants. To this aim, aqueous mixtures with suitable values of surface tension and Hansen solubility parameters (HSPs), were specifically designed and used. The very high water surface tension was decreased by the addition of solvents with lower surface tensions such as alcohols, obtaining, in this way, more favourable HSP distances. The specific role of each of these thermodynamic features was finally investigated. The results showed that the designed hydroalcoholic solutions were effective in both the graphite exfoliation and dispersion without the addition of any surfactants or other stabilizing agents. Stable graphene suspensions were obtained at concentration comparable to those produced with low-boiling solvents and water/surfactants.
Number of pages:8
Date of publication:2015
Journal title:Materials Research Express
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/2053-1591/2/3/035601
Publication Type:Article
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