Unique Nanocarbons from Critically Opalescent Solutions

  • Cundy, Andrew (PI)
  • Whitby, Ray (CoI)
  • Aschenbrenner, O. (CoI)

Project Details


UNCOS is a 4-year, 0.5 million Euro FP7 Marie Curie IAPP (Industry Academia Partnerships & Pathways) project, coordinated by the University of Brighton. The project commenced in 2010 and draws on and exchanges key expertise between specialists from the University of Brighton (UK) and Future Carbon GmbH (Germany).

The aim of UNCOS is to use critically opalescent and supercritical carbon dioxide to generate carbon nanomaterials, preferably with defined physicochemical properties and to use these carbons in a variety of applications from automotive industry to composites for biomaterials. It brings together a multidisciplinary group of specialists from different areas of nanotechnology, polymer, physical and analytical chemistry and mechanical and process engineering, working with a common aim of developing new improved materials in a cost-effective process, as well as maintaining a competitive advantage through transfer of knowledge exchanges allowing each workforce the opportunity to benefit from training and development schemes in the participating academic and industry organisations.

The aim of the UNCOS project (Unique Nanocarbons from Critically Opalescent Solutions) is to develop processes for the production of improved carbon nanomaterials from critically opalescent and supercritical fluids, namely carbon dioxide, with controlled physicochemical properties for a range of applications.

Specific aims are:

>To produce various carbon nanostructures using critically opalescent CO2, which have increased electric conductivity and improved mechanical properties
>To assess the process’ suitability for industrial application and scaled-up (continuous) nanomaterial production
>To produce carbon nanomaterials using near critical and supercritical carbon dioxide as a reaction or extraction medium, which also have increased electric conductivity and improved mechanical properties (focusing particularly on the formation of graphenes from thermally-expanded copolymers).

Key findings

UNCOS aimed to develop innovative methods for the rapid and scalable production of novel carbon nanomaterials for application in the medical, environmental and engineering sectors, using CO2 as a feedstock, or reaction or extraction medium.

The later phases of the project focused particularly on the practical production of graphene from thermally expanded copolymers, a new production route for this key emerging industrial material. The project consortium brought together the University of Brighton and FutureCarbon, a leading SME specialist in the refinement of carbon based materials into carbon super-composites and applied products, and aimed to establish long-term strategic R&D links between the project partners, develop new production routes and IP for graphene and other carbon nanomaterials, and promote knowledge transfer between industry and academia (and vice versa).

Resulting publications

Raymond L.D. Whitby, Alina V. Korobeinyk, Vladimir M. Gun’ko, Daniel B. Wright, Gennaro Dichello, Lauren C. Smith, Takahiro Fukuda, Toru Maekawa, Julian R. Thorpe, Sergey V. Mikhalovsky, "Single Layer Graphenes Functionalized With Polyurea: Architectural Control and Biomolecule Reactivity", Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 117, 11829-11836 (2013)

Ortrud Aschenbrenner, Takahiro Fukuda, Takashi Hasumura, Toru Maekawa, Vladimir M. Gun’ko, Sergey V. Mikhalovsky, Andrew B. Cundy, and Raymond L.D. Whitby, “Creation of 3-Dimensional Carbon Nanostructures from UV Irradiation of Carbon Dioxide at Room Temperature”, Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 72, 1-6 (2012).

Alina Korobeinyk, Raymond L.D. Whitby, Sergey V. Mikhalovsky, "High temperature oxidative resistance of polyacrylonitrile-methylmethacrylate copolymer powder converting to a carbonized monolith", European Polymer Journal, 48, 97 (2012).

Alina Korobeinyk, Raymond L.D. Whitby, Jonathan P. Salvage, Sergey V. Mikhalovsky, "Exfoliated production of single- and multi-layer graphenes and carbon nanofibres from the carbonization of a co-polymer", Carbon, 50, 2018-2025 (2012).

Raymond L.D. Whitby, Alina Korobeinyk, Sergey V. Mikhalovsky, Takahiro Fukuda, Toru Maekawa, "Morphological effects of single-layer graphene oxide in the formation of covalently bonded polypyrrole composites using intermediate diisocyanate chemistry", Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 13, 4829-4837 (2011)

Raymond L.D. Whitby, Alina Korobeinyk, Vladimir M. Gun’ko, Rosa Busquets, Andrew B. Cundy, Krisztina Laszlo, Jadwiga Skubiszewska-Zi#ba, Roman Leboda, Etelka Tombacz, Ildiko Toth, Krisztina Kovacs, Sergey V. Mikhalovsky, "pH-driven physicochemical conformational changes of single-layer graphene oxide", Chem. Comm., 47, 9645-9647 (2011).
Effective start/end date5/07/104/07/14


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