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The University of Southampton
µ-VIS: Multidisciplinary, Multiscale, Microtomographic Volume Imaging

X-ray computed tomography of reticulated vitreous carbon electrodes

Luis Fernando Arenas, Carlos Ponce de León, Frank C. Walsh

Electrochemical Engineering Laboratory, Energy Technology Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton

Background

Reticulated vitreous carbon (RVC) is a highly porous and cost effective three-dimensional electrode material. It has found applications in several electrochemical technologies, such as flow cells for electrosynthesis and decontamination, as well as in hierarchical materials for advanced batteries and supercapacitors. The active surface area of this electrode materials is a critical property to its performance. Its accurate quantification enables the prediction of reactant conversion in flow cells and the capacity of energy storage deceives.

 

Role of Computed Tomography 

X-ray computed tomography (CT) has been used to obtain an accurate estimation of the active surface area of the different available grades of RCV. Despite the low atomic number of carbon, the flexibility of CT permitted to obtain high resolution images and circumvent the limitations of traditional electrochemical surface area measurements. This knowledge will result in a better understanding of the reaction environment in flow cells using RVC and its suitability as a scaffold for electrochemical sensors and batteries.

 

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by CONACYT and SEP and the assistance of Dr. R. P. Boardman.

 

Figure 1 - CT scan of a cylindrical RVC sample grade 20 ppi. Diameter 5 mm. The structure of the porous foam-like material can be appreciated

Figure 2 - CT scan of a cross-sectional cut of RVC sample grade 45 ppi. Diameter 5 mm. The active surface area of the material has been determined by CT.

CT scan of a cylindrical RVC sample grade 20 ppi. Diameter 5 mm. The structure of the porous foam-like material can be appreciated.
Figure 1 - CT scan of a cylindrical RVC sample grade 20 ppi
CT scan of a cross-sectional cut of RVC sample grade 45 ppi. Diameter 5 mm. The active surface area of the material has been determined by CT.
Figure 2 - CT scan of a cross-sectional cut of RVC sample grade 45 ppi
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