Prof. Kamal Krishna Kar


Umang Gupta Chair Professor
Professor, Department of Mechanical En

and Materials Science Programme
Indian Institute of Technology

Kanpur 208016, UP, India

                                           Phone: (+91) (512) 2597687/2598703/(+91) (0)9415081153

                                                                                                     Fax: (+91) (512) 2597408



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Increasing energy crisis in the world has boosted the development of efficient energy storage technologies such as batteries and supercapacitors (SCs). The SCs are fascinating devices with high power delivery capability as compared with batteries. The development SCs such as electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) and pseudocapacitors (otherwise known as redox capacitors) has changed the faces of conventional capacitors with their superior performance. The EDLCs store charges by the formation of electrochemical double layers at the electrode/electrolyte interfaces whereas pseudocapacitors make use of electron transfer reactions such as Faradaic-reactions for their charge storage. The SCs are advantageous in terms of high rate charge/discharge capabilities, long cycle life and safe in operation but the major demerit is associated with their huge cost.

However, the application of SCs in portable flexible electronic devices is restricted by their lack of flexibility, lightweight and performance. In the recent past, tremendous efforts have been made to develop high-performance SCs with high flexibility and light-in-weight. A large fraction of the weight of SC is taken by its current collector. The majority of SCs available in the market utilize metallic (e.g., Al, Ni, Cu, etc.) or alloy (e.g., steel) current collectors and hence they are heavy. To overcome this issue, SCs should be fabricated with current collectors of low specific gravity. Since the metallic or alloy based current collectors are rigid by nature, the SC fabricated with such current collectors will also be rigid. To overcome this issue, researchers have come up with flexible fibrous current collectors such as Kevlar fiber, CNT fiber, graphene fiber, etc. The various factors, which affects the performance of SCs are the type, surface area, porosity, conductivity, chemical stability and the electrochemical activity of the electro-active material used in their electrodes. In this context, carbon nanomaterials (CNMs) such as carbon nanofibers, carbon nanotube (CNT), graphene, etc. are potential electrode candidates for application in SCs as they exhibit low density, large surface area, porous structure, good conductivity, good chemical and electrochemical stabilities and good electrochemical activity. In fact, the SCs utilizing electrodes comprising of pristine CNMs exhibit low capacitance. To overcome this issue, either surface functionalized-CNM electrodes or nanocomposite electrodes comprising of CNM/metal oxide nanocomposite, CNM/electronically conducting polymer nanocomposite, etc. have been used, for the fabrication of SCs with high capacitance. The CNM/electronically conducting polymer nanocomposite electrodes are suitable candidates to synthesize flexible lightweight SCs but their performance is still challenging in terms of capacitance, flexibility, cycle life, etc. The objectives of this thesis are to develop high-performance SCs with good flexibility, light-in-weight and long cycle life by using CNM and CNM/polypyrrole (PPY) nanocomposite electrodes with unidirectional carbon fiber (UCF) current collector.