The rapid increase in graphene-based applications has been accompanied by novel top-down manufacturing methods for graphene and its derivatives (e.g., graphene nanoplatelets (GnPs)). The characterization of the bulk properties of these materials by imaging and surface techniques (e.g., electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy) is only possible through laborious and time-consuming statistical analysis, which precludes simple and efficient quality control during GnP production. We report that thermogravimetry (TG) may be utilized, beyond its conventional applications (e.g., quantification of impurities or surfactants, or labile functional groups) to characterize bulk GnP properties. We characterize the structural parameters of GnP (i.e., defect density, mean lateral dimension, and polydispersity) by imaging and surface techniques, on one hand, and by a systematic TG, on the other. The combined data demonstrate that the combustion temperature of commercially available and laboratory-prepared GnPs is correlated with their mean lateral dimension and defect density, while the combustion temperature range is proportional to their polydispersity index. Mapping all these parameters allows one to evaluate the GnPs structure following a simple thermogravimetric experiment (without necessitating further statistical analysis). Finally, TG is also used to detect and quantify different GnP constituents in powder and to conduct rapid quality-control tests during GnP production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry