Graphene consists of hybridised carbon atoms in a hexagonal two-dimensional (2D) lattice. This material has extraordinary mechanical, thermal and electrical properties. However, one problem in practical applications is the aggregation and restacking between neighbouring graphene layers.
In contrast, a possible way to avoid this problem is by transforming 2D graphene sheets into graphene hydrogel (GH) consisting of a three dimensional (3D) porous structure. Recently, 3D GH has been widely investigated in energy storage and conversion, catalysis and sensors. Furthermore, its accessible surface area provides large adsorption capacities for toxic gases and pollutants and can be conveniently recycled due to its mechanical strength. With its bio-compatibility, potential applications also include cartilage and bone tissue engineering.
Recently, we have developed a pH-assisted hydrothermal process that synthesised reduced graphene oxide (rGO) hydrogels with different three-dimensional (3D) porous structures. We systematically investigated the structure-property relationships in the GH, with a focus on the effects of geometrical dimensions of the pore structure. However, further experimenting and modeling are required to optimise the process and gain a better understanding of the structure-property relationship.
A good understanding of the structure-property relationship is essential to precisely tune the properties of a given material. Through experiments and modelling, you'll optimise the existing process and gain a better understanding of the structure-property relationship .
We expect to develop innovative methods for creating porous graphene materials that support broad applications in:
- energy storage and conversion
- pollutant adsorption
- sensors and tissue engineering.
Our outcomes can contribute to Australia’s materials manufacturing industry.
Skills and experience
To be considered for this research project, you're expected to have general background in any of the following disciplines:
- mechanical engineering
- materials science
You should also be interested in conducting either experimental investigations or numerical modelling.
You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.
Contact the supervisor for more information.