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Hydrothermal Synthesis and Surface Characterization of Novel Alpha Alumina – based Nanomaterials

W.L. Suchanek, J.M. Garcés, M. Jaroniec
Sawyer Technical Materials, LLC, US

Keywords: alpha alumina, nanosheets, mesoporous carbon, morphology control


Novel alpha-Al2O3 nanosheets were synthesized at 450 deg C under 10 MPa pressure by the hydrothermal method in large industrial autoclaves. Selected alpha-Al2O3 nanosheets were used for the preparation of Al2O3-mesoporous carbon composites, in which the latter component was a phenolic resin-based carbon with hexagonally ordered mesopores. As-synthesized nanosheets were phase-pure alpha-Al2O3 crystals with (001) faceting, thicknesses of 10-20 nm, aspect ratios up to a few hundreds, and specific surface areas in excess of 40 m2/g (stable up to 1200ºC). Metal dopants from nearly every group of the Periodic Table were added to these alpha-Al2O3 nanosheets in concentrations up to ~0.5 atom % either as solid solutions or as nanosized inclusions. The hydrothermal method allowed for a wide range of control of the particle morphology, surface charge, surface purity, and acid-base properties. Alpha-Al2O3-carbon composites containing 20-70% of the nanosheets exhibited BET surface areas of 300-670 m2/g. and surface-induced perpendicular orientation of ordered mesopores to the (001) facets of alpha-Al2O3 nanosheets accompanied by enlargement of the pore diameter from 6 nm to 14 nm. These novel nanomaterials can be useful in a variety of applications such as heterogeneous catalysis, composites, ceramics, chemical-mechanical planarization, etc.
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