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The physicochemical investigation of hydrothermally reduced textile waste and application within carbon-based electrodes

Randviir, Edward P and Kanou, Omar and Liauw, Christopher M and Miller, Gary J and Andrews, Hayley G and Smith, Graham C (2019) The physicochemical investigation of hydrothermally reduced textile waste and application within carbon-based electrodes. RSC Advances, 9. pp. 11239-11252.

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Abstract

Textile waste is on the rise due to the expanding global population and the fast fashion market. Large volumes of textile waste are increasing the need for new methods for recycling mixed fabric materials. This paper employs a hydrothermal conversion route for a polyester/cotton mix in phosphoric acid to generate carbon materials (hydrochars) for electrochemical applications. A combination of characterization techniques revealed the reaction products were largely comprised of two major components. The first is a granular material with a surface C[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]O ratio of 2[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]1 interspersed with phosphorous and titanium proved using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and the other is a crystalline material with a surface C[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]O ratio of 3[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2 containing no phosphorous or titanium. The latter material was found via X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry to be terephthalic acid. Electrochemical experiments conducted using the hydrochar as a carbon paste electrode demonstrates an increase in current response compared to carbon reference materials. The improved current responses, intrinsically related to the surface area of the material, could be beneficial for electrochemical sensor applications, meaning that this route holds promise for the development of a cheap recycled carbon material, using straightforward methods and simple laboratory reagents.

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