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Naturally Dried, Double Nitrogen-Doped 3D Graphene Aerogels Modified by Plant Extracts for Multifunctional Applications

Meng, Qi, Wan, Hengcheng, Zhu, Wenkun, Duan, Tao, Yao, Weitang
ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering 2018 v.6 no.1 pp. 1172-1181
Plectranthus amboinicus, absorption, aerogels, ammonia, catalytic activity, drying, electrochemistry, energy, graphene, hydrophobicity, materials science, nitrogen, oils, plant extracts, urea
Two-dimensional graphene has become one of the most intensively explored carbon allotropes in materials science owing to its attractive features, such as its outstanding physicochemical properties. To advance its practical application, the fabrication of self-assembled 2D graphene sheets into 3D nitrogen-doped graphene aerogels (NGA) with novel functions is becoming essential. Herein, the first attempts to modify graphene with Plectranthus amboinicus (PA), to introduce double nitrogen doping, and to prepare NGA by a natural drying (ND) method are reported. Natural drying was achieved by increasing the pore structure of NDPA-NGA using PA to simultaneously cross-link the graphene sheets and increase the stiffness of the sample. Meanwhile, we used ammonia and urea as double nitrogen sources to achieve an N-doping amount as high as 12.06 atom %. In addition, NDPA-NGA exhibited superelastic properties (with 95% maximal strain and almost no loss after 60 replicates), a high oil absorption capacity, and an excellent electrochemical performance (371 and 204 F g–¹ at current densities of 1 and 50 A g–¹, respectively, corresponding to a retention of 54.987%). In addition, NDPA-NGA also demonstrated predominant refractoriness, low density, hydrophobicity, and physicochemical stability, which make this material an excellent candidate for use in energy storage, catalysis, and other applications.