New method to pro­duce smaller car­bon nan­otubes

Chemical Industry Digest - - New Developments -

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.

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