High Surface Area Carbon Nanofibers Derived from Electrospun Pim-1 for Energy Storage Applications




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Electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) utilize electrodes with high surface area to achieve high-energy storage capability. In this study, flexible and freestanding carbon nanofibers derived from PIM-1, a microporous polymer with high free volume, were prepared by pyrolysis of the electrospun polymer. A BET surface area of 546 m² g⁻¹ was obtained upon carbonization of the electrospun PIM-1 fibers. After further heat treatments such as steam-activation and annealing, the surface area increased to 1162 m² g⁻¹. These carbon fibers were directly used as electrodes without the use of binders in a coin cell (CR2032) configuration and were characterized by cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic charge-discharge and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The activated and annealed fibers gave a specific capacitance of 120 F g⁻¹ at a scan rate of 10 mV s⁻¹ using 1,3-ethylmethylimidizaolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl) imide as the ionic liquid electrolyte. From the galvanostatic charge-discharge test, the supercapacitor exhibited energy and power densities of 60 W h kg ⁻¹ (active material) and 1.7 kW kg⁻¹, respectively, at a current density of 1 A g⁻¹. High power application of this device was demonstrated by its 77% retention of the energy density (47 W h kg⁻¹) at a higher discharge current density of 5 A g⁻¹.



Carbon fibers, Polymers, Electrospinning



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