Large scale production of single wall carbon nanotubes
Bradley, Robert Kelley
Smalley, Richard E.
Doctor of Philosophy
Single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) possess many properties that are both novel and desirable. Most notable of said properties include electrical conductivity (metallic and semiconducting), high thermal conductivity, directionality in both electrical and thermal conductivity, high geometric aspect ratio (about 1nm diameter and up to 1 micron or greater length), unprecedented tensile strength and a versatile chemistry. There is growing eagerness in academia, industry and government to see this exciting new material developed into viable technologies. Current production levels are too low to meet the needs of manufacturers looking to develop products based on SWNTs. This is especially true for those looking to make structural polymer composites. Thus there is a need for large-scale production of SWNTs. Of the numerous techniques for growing SWNTs the technique described here in, the HiPco process, is the most apt candidate for large-scale production. The two principal advantages that distinguish HiPco from other processes are (1) HiPco is a continuous process and (2) HiPco SWNTs are extremely clean as-grown. All of the other production techniques lack one or both of these qualities making them much less economical as a large-scale process. This thesis describes the results of the research on the HiPco process, the theory and mechanisms of the HiPco reaction, the HiPco reactor and directions for future development toward the goal of mass production.
Inorganic chemistry; Engineering; Materials science