Carbon Welding by Ultrafast Joule Heating

YG Yao and KK Fu and SZ Zhu and JQ Dai and YB Wang and G Pastel and YN Chen and T Li and CW Wang and T Li and LB Hu, NANO LETTERS, 16, 7282-7289 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b03888

Carbon nanomaterials exhibit outstanding electrical and mechanical properties, but these superior properties are often compromised as nanomaterials are assembled into bulk structures. This issue of scaling limits the use of carbon nanostructures and can be attributed to poor physical contacts between nanostructures. To address this challenge, we propose a novel technique to build a 3D interconnected carbon matrix by forming covalent bonds between carbon nanostructures. High temperature Joule heating was applied to bring the carbon nanofiber (CNF) film to temperatures greater than 2500 K at a heating rate of 200 K/min to fuse together adjacent carbon nanofibers with graphitic carbon bonds, forming a 3D continuous carbon network. The bulk electrical conductivity of the carbon matrix increased four orders of magnitude to 380 S/cm with a sheet resistance of 1.75 Omega/sq. The high temperature Joule heating not only enables fast graphitization of carbon materials at high temperature, but also provides a new strategy to build covalently bonded graphitic carbon networks from amorphous carbon source. Because of the high electrical conductivity, good mechanical structures, and anticorrosion properties, the 3D interconnected carbon membrane shows promising applications in energy storage and electrocatalysis fields.

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