The thermal transport properties were studied for carbons produced by the carbonization of microcrystalline cellulose. Thermal diffusivity, specific heat, and thermal conductivity were measured via flash method for cellulose derived carbons prepared at various heat treatment temperatures ranging from 250°C to 1000°C. The thermal diffusivity as a function of increasing heat treatment temperature was observed to have four distinct linear regions, which could be related directly to the microstructures of the materials generated by the specific heat treatment temperature. Specific heat values indicated the coexistence of polar and non-polar phases in both partially carbonized materials obtained at lower heat treatment temperatures and fully carbonized materials formed at higher heat treatment temperatures. For partially carbonized materials, the polar groups consisting of residual hydroxyl and carboxyl were still present. For fully carbonized materials, the polar phases have largely been volatilized and conductive nano-carbon clusters were nucleated and observed to grow in an amorphous carbon bed until percolation effects were observed. Such structural characteristics are well supported by FT-IR characterizations. Lastly, a linear relationship between testing temperature and thermal conductivity indicates boundary scattering between highly conductive carbon clusters as the main mechanism for heat conduction.

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