Men, Y.; Siebenbürger, M.; Qui, X.; Antonietti, M.; Yuan, J.: Low fractions of ionic liquid or poly(ionic liquid) can activate polysaccharide biomass into shaped, flexible and fire-retardant pourous carbons. Journal of Materials Chemistry A 1 (2013), p. 11887-11893
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Sugar-based molecules and polysaccharide biomass can be turned into porous functional carbonaceous products at comparably low temperatures of 400 °C under a nitrogen atmosphere in the presence of an ionic liquid (IL) or a poly(ionic liquid) (PIL). The IL and PIL act as “activation agents” with own structural contribution, and effectively promote the conversion and pore generation in the biomaterials even at a rather low doping ratio (7 wt%). In addition, this “induced carbonization” and pore forming phenomenon enables the preservation of the biotemplate shape to the highest extent and was employed to fabricate shaped porous carbonaceous materials from carbohydrate-based biotemplates, exemplified here with cellulose filter membranes, coffee filter paper and natural cotton. These carbonized hybrids exhibit comparably good mechanical properties, such as bendability of membranes or shape recovery of foams. Moreover, the nitrogen atoms incorporated in the final products from the IL/PIL precursors further improve the oxidation stability in the fire-retardant tests.