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Novel, Industrial Scale Production of Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes Using Plasma

O. Smiljanic, F. Larouche and B.L. Stansfield
Raymor Industries, CA

Keywords:
nanotubes, swcnt, cnt, cswnt, c-swnt, plasma

Abstract:
An environmentally-friendly process has been developed which is a breakthrough in the production of single wall carbon nanotubes (C-SWNT), based on a global study of the parameters[1] and mechanisms[2] involved in the synthesis of C-SWNT. The problems of cost and availability of sufficiently large quantities of C-SWNT limit the level of development of any industrial application. Previously, laboratory-scale microwave plasma torches[1,3] have been used, where a carbon containing gas (methane) and molecular iron catalyst precursor (ferrocene) are atomized by the plasma and condense in a furnace where the growth of the C-SWNT takes place. In doing so, it is possible to control and to fine-tune all the parameters involved in the C-SWNT production, with all the advantages of the preceding techniques without the drawbacks. The main challenge was to adapt these developed principles to an industrial scale process, in order to produce large quantities of high quality C-SWNT, cost-effectively. The process can now produce continuously several kilograms of C-SWNT with a high purity and with an online quality monitoring. The efficiency is very high (200 kWh/kg), opening the way to the use of C-SWNT in everyday objects, like airplanes, cars or batteries.

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