Hard carbons are promising candidates for high-capacity anode materials in alkali metal-ion batteries, such as lithium- and sodium-ion batteries. High reversible capacities are often coming along with high irreversible capacity losses during the first cycles, limiting commercial viability. The trade-off to maximize the reversible capacities and simultaneously minimizing irreversible losses can be achieved by tuning the exact architecture of the subnanometric pore system inside the carbon particles. Since the characterization of small pores is nontrivial, we herein employ Kr, N2 and CO2 gas sorption porosimetry, as well as H2O vapor sorption porosimetry, to investigate eight hard carbons. Electrochemical lithium as well as sodium storage tests are compared to the obtained apparent surface areas and pore volumes. H2O, and more importantly CO2, sorption porosimetry turned out to be the preferred methods to evaluate the likelihood for excessive irreversible capacities. The methods are also useful to select the relatively most promising active materials within chemically similar materials. A quantitative relation of porosity descriptors to the obtained capacities remains a scientific challenge.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes