Synthesis and Characterization of Graphene/Polyaniline Nanocomposite Using Green Solvents

K.R. Sebogodi1, K. Kotlhao2 and M.J. Klink3,*

1Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Science and Technology, North-West University (Mafikeng Campus), Private Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa

2Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences, Vaal University of Technology, Private Bag X021, Vanderbijl Park 1900, South Africa

3Department of Chemistry/Biotechnology, Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences, Vaal University of Technology, Private Bag X021, Vanderbijl Park 1900, South Africa

*Corresponding author: Fax: +27 16 950 9794; Tel: +27 16 950 7507; E-mail: michaelk1@vut.ac.za

Abstract

Graphene/polyaniline (GR/PANI) nanocomposite materials were synthesized in four different imidazolium based green ionic liquids, 1-butyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium tetraflouroborate, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetraflouroborate, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexaflourophosphate and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(triflouromethylsulfonyl) imide. Successful synthesis of the GR/PANI nanocomposite was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), UV-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). FTIR and UV-visible results successfully confirmed the incorporation of polyaniline into the graphene/polyaniline structures. The SEM micrographs of the nanocomposites synthesized in ionic liquids showed that the polyaniline material were nucleated, aggregated or evenly distributed in between the graphene sheets depending on ionic solvent used, unlike a thick wavy films or passivated layer of the PANI nano material formed on the graphene sheet in the organic solvent. The XRD gave crystal sizes ranged between 89-950 nm and 29-250 nm for composites synthesized in ionic liquids and organic solvents respectively. Larger crystal size in ionic liquids was attributed to easy dissolution of starting material and electrostatic interaction between molecules. Energy dispersive X-ray and thermogravimetric analysis showed that the graphene/polyaniline nanocomposites synthesized in the presence of ionic liquids have similar properties to those synthesized in organic solvents. The photochemical and electrochemical properties of the ionic and organic solvent synthesized GR/PANI nanocomposite in catalysis, sensor and energy devices will be subject for future study.

Keywords

Green chemistry, Ionic liquids, GR/PANI nanocomposite.

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