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Preparation of conductive cellulose paper through electrochemical exfoliation of graphite: The role of anionic surfactant ionic liquids as exfoliating and stabilizing agents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Early online date15 Aug 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Aug 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 15 Aug 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Dec 2018


A facile electrochemical exfoliation method was established to efficiently prepare conductive paper containing reduced graphene oxide (RGO) with the help of single chain anionic surfactant ionic liquids (SAILs). The surfactant ionic liquids are synthesized from conventional organic surfactant anions and a 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium cation. For the first time the combination of SAILs and cellulose was used to directly exfoliate graphite. The ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium dodecylbenzenesulfonate (BMIM-DBS) was shown to have notable affinity for graphene, demonstrating improved electrical properties of the conductive cellulose paper. The presence of BMIM-DBS in the system promotes five orders of magnitude enhancement of the paper electrical conductivity (2.71 × 10−5 S cm−1) compared to the native cellulose (1.97 × 10−10 S cm−1). A thorough investigation using electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy highlights the presence of uniform graphene incorporated inside the matrices. Studies into aqueous aggregation behavior using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) point to the ability of this compound to act as a bridge between graphene and cellulose, and is responsible for the enhanced exfoliation level and stabilization of the resulting dispersion. The simple and feasible process for producing conductive paper described here is attractive for the possibility of scaling-up this technique for mass production of conductive composites containing graphene or other layered materials.

    Research areas

  • Electrochemical exfoliation, Ionic liquids, Reduced graphene oxide, Self-assembly, Surfactant, Surfactant ionic liquids

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    Accepted author manuscript, 2.04 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


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