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Gel-Phase Reduction of Graphene Oxide Coatings by L-Ascorbic Acid
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1  Institute for Polymers, Composites, and Biomaterials, National Research Council, (IPCB-CNR) UOS Napoli/Portici, Piazzale Enrico Fermi 1, 80055 Portici (NA), Italy.


Reduced Graphene Oxide (r-GO) has physical-chemical properties similar to graphene and therefore it can be used for most of the graphene technological applications. The r-GO is produced by chemical or thermal reduction of graphene oxide (GO). GO is a high water-soluble organic compound that can be easily processed in form of aqueous/alcoholic ink to produce thick self-standing films (i.e., GO paper) or thin coatings supported on a variety of substrates (e.g., polymers, cellulose, glass, silicon, etc.). The best GO reduction technique is depending on the substrate chemical/thermal stability, and in the case of thermally unstable substrates (e.g., cellulose) the chemical approach is mandatory. However, traditional reductants, like hydrazine and phenyl-hydrazine, are highly active and therefore detrimental for the substrate. Among the mild reducing agents, L-ascorbic acid (L-aa) a green chemical reductant, has been widely investigated for GO reduction in aqueous solutions. Here, L-aa has been used to convert a GO gel-phase to r-GO by (i) swelling the GO phase with hot water, in order to allow L-aa permeation inside its lamellar structures by diffusion, and (ii) periodically restoring the reductant on the GO layer surface. According to the morphological-structural characterization (SEM, XRD, FT-IR, contact angle measurements, etc.), the proposed approach allowed GO conversion to r-GO preserving a thin GO interfacial layer essential for a good adhesion.

Keywords: Graphene oxide; reduced graphene oxide; green chemical reduction; L-ascorbic acid.