recent story

Generalized and feasible strategy to prepare ultra-porous, low density, compressible carbon nanoparticle sponges

J. Y. Cheong, L. Benker, J. Zhu, D.-Y. Youn, H. Hou, S. Agarwal, I.-D. Kim, A. Greiner

Generalized and feasible strategy to prepare ultra-porous, low density, compressible carbon nanoparticle sponges, Carbon, 2019, 363-369.


For the last two decades, nanostructured carbon materials have attracted significant attention, as they exhibit unusual physicochemical properties different from their bulk counterpart. Nevertheless, agglomeration and re-stacking of carbon nanostructures have always limited optimal performance, with larger loading amount. To solve this issue, porous and compressible carbon-based sponges have been researched, but most of the previously suggested carbon foams were either not very porous, synthesized at high temperature heat treatment, and/or not applicable for carbon nanoparticles. In this work, we have successfully fabricated ultra-porous (porosity about 98–99%), polyimide-carbon nanoparticle (PI–C) composites by combining Ketjen black nanoparticles with PI short fibers, by simple freeze-drying and subsequent heat treatments at low temperature (240 °C). Based on the analysis, it has been discovered that the fabricated PI-C sponges not only exhibit highly robust mechanical properties but also retain low thermal conductivity even in comparison with pristine PI sponges. This work provides a milestone in fabricating a number of C-electrospun polymeric sponges by freeze drying and subsequent heat treatments, which are expected to be utilized in various fields of research.


selected papers

selected reviews

New Review  by S. Agarwal, S. Jiang, Y. Chen published in Macromol. Mater.

S. Agarwal, S. Jiang, Y. Chen

Macromol. Mater. Eng., 2018, 1800548


Welcome to Macromolecular Chemistry II

Spruch der Woche

Perfektion ist erreicht, nicht, wenn sich nichts mehr hinzufügen lässt, sondern, wenn man nichts mehr wegnehmen kann. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) (Perfection is achieved, not when nothing more can be added, but when nothing more can be taken away (Antoine de Saint-Exupery))

"Die reinste Form des Wahnsinns ist es, alles beim Alten zu lassen und gleichzeitig zu hoffen, dass sich etwas ändert. (The sheerest madness is to leave everything the way it is and to simultaneously hope that something will change)" Albert Einstein

"The fate of genius is to be misunderstood, but not everything is a misunderstood genius" Ralp Waldo Emmerson (1803-1882)

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” (Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World)

"Die Ablehnung Unwichtiges zu tun, ist eine entscheidende Voraussetzung für den Erfolg“ Sir Alexander MacKenzie

"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all“ von Oscar Wilde (Eine Idee, die nicht gewagt ist, verdient es nicht, überhaupt eine Idee genannt zu werden)


News 14.11.2019

Virtually Wall-Less Tubular Sponges as Compartmentalized Reaction Containers

Shaohua Jiang, Viktoria Gruen, Sabine Rosenfeldt, Anna S. Schenk, Seema Agarwal, Zhi-Kang Xu, and Andreas Greiner

Research, 2019.


Sponges are open cellular materials with numerous interesting features. However, the potential of compartmentalized sponges has not been explored although many new properties and applications could be envisioned. We found that compartmentalized fibrous ultraporous polymer sponges with superhydrophobic surfaces could be designed as virtually wall-less reaction containers. With this, for example, the efficient removal of CO2 from water and the controlled mineralization of calcium carbonate are possible. The high porosity (>99%) and superhydrophobicity make these sponges ideal candidates to hold alkanolamine solution for absorbing CO2 and exchange gas through the walls of the sponges. The tubular sponge exhibits a much higher evaporation rate than a glass tube with the same diameter due to the much larger contact area between water and air. Therefore, the spongy reaction container also possesses a much faster adsorption rate, smaller equilibration time and higher efficiency for CO2 adsorption than the glass tube container. In addition, these tubular sponges are also utilized to precipitate calcium carbonate by ammonium carbonate decomposition, which can control the deposition rates and products by tailoring the porosity and surface chemistry in the future. These new sponges provide an ideal basis for numerous new applications, for example, as breathable pipe lines for gas-liquid exchange, slag slurry carbonization, humidifier, and blood enricher.

more news

Universität Bayreuth -