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February 12, 2008

Possible breakthrough for cheap Carbon nanotubes

Images of (A,B) shaped CNT solids monoliths, (C) shards, and (D) powders derived from said monoliths. Credit: Naval Research Laboratory.

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been produced in high yields in bulk solid compositions using commercially available aromatic containing resins. The concentration of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) and metal nanoparticles can be easily varied within the shaped carbonaceous solid.


The CNTs obtained by this patented method are not formed from gaseous components, as is common with the current CNT production based on chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods, but rather evolve from metal and carbon nanoparticles that form within the carbonaceous solid during the carbonization process above 500°C. Only a small amount of the organometallic compound or metal salt is needed to achieve the formation of CNTs in high yield, but large quantities of the metal source can be used, depending on the application, if desired.

The solid-state method enables the large-scale production of MWNTs in moldable solid forms, films, and fibers using low-cost precursors and equipment, thereby reducing economic barriers that are inherent with carbon nanotube materials produced by more conventional methods, such as CVD.

The use of commercially available resins is a potentially inexpensive route to CNTs. Using this simple, potentially cost-effective method could result in the production of CNTs in large quantities and various shapes. Scientists are evaluating them for possible use in numerous aerospace, marine, and electronic applications.


FURTHER READING
Carbon nanotube production in 2007

More on the carbon nanotube market


2 comments:

Snake Oil Baron said...

Is there a catch? This looks like a big story.

bw said...

It does seem like high volume cheaper Multi wall nanotubes will result. The gotchas is they have not made a high volume factory yet and it does not seem to do single wall nanotubes and it is not clear how well this would help to make pure nanotubes, but it should help for a lot of composite situations.