The effect of modifications of activated carbon materials on the capacitive performance: surface, microstructure, and wettability

Kouao Dujearic-Stephane, Meenal Gupta, Ashwani Kumar, Vijay Sharma, Soumya Pandit, Patrizia Bocchetta, Yogesh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In this review, the efforts done by different research groups to enhance the performance of the electric double-layer capacitors (EDLCs), regarding the effect of the modification of activated carbon structures on the electrochemical properties, are summarized. Activated carbon materials with various porous textures, surface chemistry, and microstructure have been synthesized using several different techniques by different researchers. Micro-, meso-, and macroporous textures can be obtained through the activation/carbonization process using various activating agents. The surface chemistry of activated carbon materials can be modified via: (i) the carbonization of heteroatom-enriched compounds, (ii) post-treatment of carbon materials with reactive heteroatom sources, and (iii) activated carbon combined both with metal oxide materials dan conducting polymers to obtain composites. Intending to improve the EDLCs performance, the introduction of heteroatoms into an activated carbon matrix and composited activated carbon with either metal oxide materials or conducting polymers introduced a pseudo-capacitance effect, which is an additional contribution to the dominant double-layer capacitance. Such tricks offer high capacitance due to the presence of both electrical double layer charge storage mechanism and faradic charge transfer. The surface modification by attaching suitable heteroatoms such as phosphorus species increases the cell operating voltage, thereby improving the cell performance. To establish a detailed understanding of how one can modify the activated carbon structure regarding its porous textures, the surface chemistry, the wettability, and microstructure enable to enhance the performance of the EDLCs is discussed here in detail. This review discusses the basic key parameters which are considered to evaluate the performance of EDLCs such as cell capacitance, operating voltage, equivalent series resistance, power density, and energy density, and how these are affected by the modification of the activated carbon framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalJournal of Composites Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Activated carbon
  • BET analysis
  • Carbon precursor
  • Nano-structured porous electrode
  • Supercapacitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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