Carbonization in inert gas

Carbonization is conducted in water-free inert atmosphere in temperatures >1000 °C. Melting polymeric materials, such as lignin, are stabilized prior to carbonization while non-melting polymers, such as cellulose, can be treated with chemicals to reduce removal of volatile carbon during the process in order to improve carbon quality and increase the carbon yield. Carbon properties can further be tailored, e.g. by physical and chemical activation or graphitization in temperatures >2000 °C.

Earlier research examples

We have used high temperature carbonization e.g. for production of carbon nanofibres from wet-spun cellulose fibres and electrospun polyacrylonitrile (1).

Figure. SEM-images of a) cellulosic wet-spun textile fibres and b) carbon fibres obtained from them via high temperature process.

[1] Heikkilä P., Pasanen A., Wikström L., Kauranen P. and Harlin A. (2009). “Preparation of carbon nanofibres from electrospun precursor fibres”, Nanotech Europe 2009, Berlin, Germany, September 28-30.