The influence of different activation processes on the textural and surface chemical properties of carbon xerogels was studied. Carbon xerogels were prepared by the conventional sol-gel approach using resorcinol and formaldehyde: two different pHs of sol-gel processing led to carbon materials with distinct pore size distributions. The materials were subjected to controlled activation by three different methods: activation by oxygen plasma, activation by HNO3, and activation by diluted air. Treatments with HNO3 and diluted air created oxygen groups on the external surface as well as inside the pore channels, whereas plasma is more suitable for introducing oxygen groups selectively on the external surface. Nevertheless, it was shown that samples with wider pores can be oxidized to some extent on the pore interiors by plasma. Significant changes in total surface area by air activation were observed.
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