Distinctive Performance of Gemini Surfactant in the Preparation of Hierarchically Porous Carbons via High-Internal-Phase Emulsion Template

The superior capability of gemini surfactant (GS) in the preparation of hierarchically porous carbons via high-internal-phase emulsion (HIPE) template followed by pyrolysis was confirmed in this work. Polymerized HIPEs (polyHIPEs) of phenol-formaldehyde resin were prepared by cross-linking the continuous phase of HIPEs stabilized by GS. Nonionic surfactant and cationic surfactant were also selected to stabilize HIPE for comparison. From scanning electron microscope observations, polyHIPEs with open-cell pore architectures were obtained with GS as emulsifier (polyHIPEs-GS) and the derived carbon foams (carboHIPEs-GS) well retained the original pore architectures, whereas polyHIPEs obtained using contrastive surfactants showed closed-cell porous structures and notable differences were observed for the derived carboHIPEs. Nitrogen adsorption/desorption measurements indicated that polyHIPEs-GS and carboHIPEs-GS both exhibited hierarchically porous architectures with much higher surface areas (SA) than those of the corresponding contrast samples. Mercury intrusion porosimetry results indicated that carboHIPEs-GS possessed higher SA and higher porosity than that of the contrast samples. The open-cell pore architecture and high SA are favorable to many applications, like energy storage. carboHIPE-GS expectably showed a higher capacitance than that of contrast samples when used as the electrode material of supercapacitor.