Fluorinated Carbide-Derived Carbon: More Hydrophilic, Yet Apparently More Hydrophobic

We explore the effect of fluorine doping on hydrophobicity of nanoporous silicon carbide-derived carbon (SiCDC), and investigate the underlying barriers for adsorption and diffusion of water vapor and CO<sub>2</sub> in the fluorinated and nonfluorinated structures. We develop atomistic models of fluorine-doped SiCDC at three different levels of fluorination, based on a hybrid reverse Monte Carlo constructed model of SiCDC, and develop a novel first-principles force field for the simulation of adsorption and transport of water and CO<sub>2</sub> in the fluorine-doped carbon materials. We demonstrate an apparent dual effect of fluorination, showing that while fluorination generates more hydrophilic carbon surfaces, they actually act as more hydrophobic structures due to enhanced energy barriers in the disordered network of microporous carbon. While an increase in adsorption energy and in water uptake is seen for fluorine-doped carbon, large internal free energy barriers as well as the results of MD simulations demonstrate that the increased adsorption is kinetically limited and not experimentally observable on practical time scales. We show that an increase in apparent hydrophobicity due to fluorination is mediated by larger free energy barriers arising from stronger binding of fluid molecules inside the pore network, as opposed to repulsion or steric hindrance to the diffusion of molecules through narrow pore entries. For carbon dioxide, adsorption enthalpies and activation energy barriers are both decreased on fluorination, indicating weakened solid–fluid binding energies in the fluorinated systems.