Activated carbon fibers with a high content of surface functional groups by phosphoric acid activation of PPTA

Alberto Castro-Muñiz, Fabián Suárez-García, Amelia Martínez-Alonso, Juan M.D. Tascón

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52 Citations (Scopus)


Activated carbon fibers (ACFs) were prepared by chemical activation of poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide (PPTA) with phosphoric acid, with a particular focus on the effects of impregnation ratio and carbonization temperature on both surface chemistry and porous texture. Thermogravimetric studies of the pyrolysis of PPTA impregnated with different amounts of phosphoric acid indicated that this reagent has a strong influence on the thermal degradation of the polymer, lowering the decomposition temperature and increasing the carbon yield. As concerns surface chemistry, TPD and chemical analysis results indicated that the addition of phosphoric acid increases the concentration of oxygenated surface groups, with a maximum at an impregnation ratio of 100wt.%. The resulting materials present uncommon properties, namely a large amount of oxygen- and phosphorus-containing surface groups and a high nitrogen content. Porosity development following H3PO4 activation was very significant, with values close to 1700m2/g and 0.80cm3/g being reached for the BET surface area and total pore volume, respectively. The pore size distributions remained confined to the micropore and narrow mesopore (<10nm) range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sep 1


  • Activated carbon fibers
  • Adsorption
  • PPTA
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Surface functional groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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