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Preparation of Oxygen-enriched Activated Carbons from Coal-based Humic Acids by Zinc Chloride Activation

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Oxygen-enriched activated carbons (ACs) for electrochemical capacitors (ECs) were prepared from coal-based humic acids (HAs) by zinc chloride (ZnCl2) activation. The effects of ZnCl2/HAs ratio and activation temperature on the characteristics of ACs were investigated by nitrogen adsorption at 77K, scanning electron microscope, transmission electron microscope and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The electrochemical performances of ECs with ACs as electrode in a 3M KOH aqueous solution were evaluated by galvanostatic charge-discharge, cyclic voltammetry and Nyquist impedance spectroscopy. The results indicate that the optimum conditions for preparing ACs from coal-based HAs are ZnCl2/HAs ratio of 2.0 and activation temperature of 500 °C. The AC as electrode for ECs prepared under these conditions presents a high specific capacitance of 226 F/g at a high current density of 5 A/g, and exhibits good cycling stability and minimal resistance. The excellent electrochemical performances of ACs are attributed to three aspects: the well-developed porosity with moderate specific surface area, three-dimensional interconnected pore structure and the oxygen-enriched functional groups in carbon network.
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Keywords: Activated carbons; electrochemical capacitors; electrochemical performance; humic acids

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2015

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  • Current Nanoscience publishes authoritative reviews and original research reports, written by experts in the field on all the most recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology. All aspects of the field are represented including nano- structures, synthesis, properties, assembly and devices. Applications of nanoscience in biotechnology, medicine, pharmaceuticals, physics, material science and electronics are also covered. The journal is essential to all involved in nanoscience and its applied areas.
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