Carbon aerogels activity

Target Laboratory is involved in R & D on carbon aerogels and their applications such as catalyst for hydrogen isotope separation, water desalination, fusion targets and hydrogen storage. Developmental work on glass micro balloons and their possible applications in hydrogen storage and as fusion targets is also being pursued.

- Carbon aerogels: Synthesis and applications

- Major Facilities

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Carbon aerogels: Synthesis and applications

The technology for the synthesis of carbon aerogels and metal loaded carbon aerogels has been developed. Critical point drying and surfactant based open air drying methods have been employed to prepare these aerogels. Further, various scaffolding techniques have been developed and utilized to prepare different morphologies like thin large sheets of up to 200 mm x 150 mm, cylinders of up to 100 mm length and 30 mm diameter and Dixon rings of size 8 mm x 8 mm. Following applications of carbon aerogels are being pursued in the laboratory.

Platinum loaded carbon aerogels (Pt-CA) have been developed for their use as catalyst in liquid phase catalytic exchange process . Pt-CA coated Dixon ring catalyst have been developed and tested under dynamic conditions and obtained volume transfer coefficient in the range from 0.2 to 1.2 s-1.

Platinum loaded carbon aerogel block
Uniform coated Dixon ring
SEM of carbon aerogel

High surface area conducting carbon aerogel electrodes have been developed for desalination application. Coated electrodes of size up to 200 mm x 200 mm using carbon aerogel powder and binder have been developed. Specific capacitance and sorption capacity were found to be in the range of 80-90 F/g and 72┬Ámol/g respectively.

Carbon aerogel monolith
Coated graphite electrode
Desalination set up

X-ray emission studies have been conducted at BARC, Mumbai using carbon aerogel targets. The x-ray emission in the soft x-ray region was observed to increase to about 1.8 times and 2.3 times in pure and Pt doped carbon aerogel targets respectively as compared to solid carbon.

SEM records of the crater at laser energy
8 J/ 500 ps in carbon aerogel
Pt doped carbon aerogel

Carbon aerogels have hydrogen storage capacity because of inherent microporosity. Experiments were conducted and mass storage of ~ 0.6 wt% was obtained for Pt - loaded carbon aerogel and 1.5 wt% for carbon-nitrogen aerogel at 77 K and 15 bar pressure.

Major facilities

  • Drop Tower Furnace.
  • Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer.
  • Physisorption & Chemisorption Equipment.
  • Inert atmosphere Furnace.
  • Ovens.
  • Multi-core computer based FEM simulations
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