Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Nanotubes production

Industrial scale-up of the electric arc discharge process was the main objective of this work. The aim was to provide the quantities of single-walled carbon nanotubes required for the research activities of each partner in this project.

A second objective of equal importance was optimisation of the quality of SWNT s produced by the electric arc discharge reactor and post synthesis purification of SWNTs. Research was focused on finding a suitable purification procedure, which is suitable for easy scale-up to industrial quantities when required.

Delivery of SWNTs was the key requirement from Nanoledge in this program. Nanoledge was the leader of this work and the milestones were achieved.
Sufficient quantities were delivered to the partners upon request and Nanoledge accommodated the significantly higher quantities required for large-scale purification routes and SWNT/polymer composite preparation by micro-compounding methods.

Initial work was based on setting up the reactor to ensure homogeneous and reproducible quality and quantity of SWNTs was obtained. Nanoledge then concentrated its work efforts on two main areas:
- Decrease of the production cost
- Improvement of purity of SWNTs

Various purification methods were investigated that yielded purity exceeding 90 %. However, the main hindrance was quantities in the milligram scale were obtained. The limitation was that these methods were suitable for lab scale and not industrial quantities since a filtration step is involved. Nanoledge found an alternative procedure for obtaining purer SWNTs. That was achieved by careful selection of product from the reactor. It was observed that specific and macroscopically distinguishable areas of the reactor contain statistically more SWNTs than the rest. The material collected from these areas gives the raw product. A purer SWNT product can be delivered by properly selecting parts of the raw product. A purity of 60 to 70wt% can be achieved using this method; around 35 wt% of the raw product being used.

For reduction of production cost work was focused on anode preparation since it was the most labour intensive step. Usually, anodes were prepared manually with an extremely time consuming process. A new method was employed which decreased the cost by a factor of five on a lab scale level.

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