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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Natasha Shirshova

Qian, H., Diao, H., Shirshova, N., Greenhalgh, E. S., Steinke, J. G. H., Shaffer, M. S. P. & Bismarck, A. (2013). Activation of structural carbon fibres for potential applications in multifunctional structural supercapacitors. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 395: 241-248.

Author(s) from Durham


The feasibility of modifying conventional structural carbon fibres via activation has been studied to create fibres, which can be used simultaneously as electrode and reinforcement in structural composite supercapacitors. Both physical and chemical activation, including using steam, carbon dioxide, acid and potassium hydroxide, were conducted and the resulting fibre properties compared. It was proven that the chemical activation using potassium hydroxide is an effective method to prepare activated structural carbon fibres that possess both good electrochemical and mechanical properties. The optimal activation conditions, such as the loading of activating agent and the burn-off of carbon fibres, was identified and delivered a 100-fold increase in specific surface area and 50-fold improvement in specific electrochemical capacitance without any degradation of the fibre mechanical properties. The activation process was successfully scaled-up, showing good uniformity and reproducibility. These activated structural carbon fibres are promising candidates as reinforcement/electrodes for multifunctional structural energy storage devices.