Geographical and Geological Origin of Natural Graphite Heavily Influence the Electrical and Electrochemical Properties of Chemically Modified Graphenes
- Colin Hong An Wong, Zdeněk Sofer, Martin Pumera*
Natural graphite is an important precursor for the production of chemically modified graphenes in bulk quantities for electrochemical applications. These natural graphites have varying fundamental properties due to the different geological processes and environments at their points of origin, which are expected to affect their chemical reactivity and hence the properties of the derived graphene materials. Four different natural graphites with known geographical and geological origins were exposed to a modified Hummers oxidation method and the resulting graphite oxides were studied. The graphite oxides were shown to have different extents of oxidation and types of oxygen groups, which directly influenced their electrochemical properties. These differences were propagated further in the subsequent chemical reduction of the graphite oxides, and the reduced graphene oxides exhibited significantly different reduction efficiencies and electrical conductivities. These findings show that the choice of natural graphite of known origin is important to synthesize chemically modified graphenes with a desired set of properties.