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Effects of CO2 on Carbon Nanotube Formation from Thermal Decomposition of Ethylene

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2015

Chuanwei Zhuo
Affiliation:
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115 Business and Technology Center, Cabot Corporation, Billerica, MA 01821
Fariba Khanshan
Affiliation:
Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115
Richard West
Affiliation:
Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115
Henning Richter
Affiliation:
Materials Synthesis Research, Nano-C Inc., Boston, MA 02115
Yiannis A. Levendis
Affiliation:
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115
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Abstract

Catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a popular method to synthesize carbon nanotubes (CNTs). At the presence of catalysts (usually trasition metals), the hydrocarbon feedstock decomposes controllably at elevated temperatures and can form tubular structures. It has been suggested that trace amounts of weak gas-phase oxidants, such as CO2, can enhance the CNT synthesis by extending the catatlyst life. It is not clear, however, how such additives affect the CVD reaction environment. In this study, ethylene gas was introduced to a preheated furnace/CVD reactor where meshes of stainless steel were placed. Therein ethylene was thermally decomposed in nitrogen mixed with different amounts of carbon dioxide. The meshes served as catalytic substrates for the CNT growth. The compositions of the ethylene pyrolyzates were analysed both with and without the presence of catalysts, to explore the possible contributions of CO2 addition to the CNT formation. The latter compositions were compared with kinetic model predictions of the thermal decomposition of ethylene. Both experimental and simulation results indicated that 1,3-butadiene (C4H6) was the most abundant hydrocarbon species of ethylene decomposition (at 800 °C) and that decomposition was inhibitted at the presence of CO2. A commesurate effect on CNT formation was observed experimentally, whereas the quality of CNTs got improved.

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Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2015 

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