The role of cations in resorcinol-formaldehyde gel textural characteristics

Taylor, Stewart J. and Yang, Liu and Fletcher, Ashleigh J. (2022) The role of cations in resorcinol-formaldehyde gel textural characteristics. Gels, 8 (1). 60. ISSN 2310-2861 (

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The production of resorcinol−formaldehyde xerogels has yielded insight into the gelation processes underpinning their structures. In this work, the role of the cation species from the catalyst is probed by studying the simultaneous addition of sodium carbonate and calcium carbonate to a resorcinol−formaldehyde mixture. Twenty-eight xerogels were prepared by varying the solids content, catalyst concentration, and catalyst composition, and each was analysed for its textural properties, including the surface area and average pore diameter. The results indicate that the role of the cation is linked to the stabilisation of the clusters formed within the system, and that the Group II catalyst causes the salting out of the oligomers, resulting in fewer, larger clusters, hence, an increase in pore size and a broadening of the pore size distribution. The results provide insight into how these systems can be further controlled to create tailored porous materials for a range of applications.