New method to produce smaller carbon nanotubes
Aresearch team from Vanderbilt University has developed a new and cheaper method to convert carbon dioxide into carbon nanotubes with small diameters, supermaterials that can be stronger than steel and more conductive than copper.
According to the study, small-diameter carbon nanotubes often require increased sophistication and control in synthesis processes, but exhibit improved physical properties and greater economic value over their larger-diameter counterparts.
To make the nanotubes, the researchers found that a process called Ostwald ripening—where the nanoparticles that grow the carbon nanotubes change in size to large diameters—was a hindrance in producing smaller carbon nanotubes. The researchers also discovered a correlation between the diameter of the carbon nanotubes and iron metal layer thickness after electrochemical catalyst reduction at the cathode-molten salt interface, as published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
The nanoparticles produced are about 10,000 times smaller than a human hair and can be produced from coatings on stainless steel surfaces.