Solvent relaxation NMR has been used to estimate the surface areas and wettability of various types of nanostructured carbon materials in a range of solvents including water, ethanol and tetrahydrofuran. We illustrate the application of the technique through several short case studies using samples including nano carbon blacks, graphene oxide, nanographites and porous graphenes. The technique is shown to give a good measure of surface area, correlating well with conventional surface area estimates obtained by nitrogen adsorption, TEM or light scattering for the non-porous samples. NMR relaxation has advantages in terms of speed of analysis and being able to use concentrated, wet and opaque samples. For samples that are porous, two distinct surface areas can be estimated assuming the two environments (`inner' and `outer') have the same surface chemistry and that there is a slow exchange of solvent molecules between them. Further, we show that differences in wettability and dispersability between samples dispersed in water, ethanol and cyclopentanone can be observed, along with changes to the surface chemistry of the interface.

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Last edited: Friday September 10, 2010

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