Bartalome Mas, V Reguero and J J Vilatela
IMDEA Materials Institute, Spain
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Material Sci Eng
We report on the synthesis of kilometres of continuous macroscopic fibers made up of carbon nanotubes (CNT) of controlled number of layers, ranging from singlewalled to multiwalled, tailored by the addition of sulfur as a catalyst promoter during chemical vapor deposition in the direct fiber spinning process. The progressive transition from single-walled through collapsed double-walled to multiwalled is clearly seen by an upshift in the 2D (G') band and by other Raman spectra features. The increase in number of CNT layers and inner diameter results in a higher fibre macroscopic linear density and greater reaction yield (up to 9%). Through a combination of multiscale characterization techniques (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, organic elemental analysis, high resolution transmission electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and synchrotron XRD) we establish the composition of the catalyst particles and position in the isothermal section of the C├ó┬?┬?Fe├ó┬?┬?S ternary diagram at 1400├?┬░C. This helps explain the unusually low proportion of active catalyst particles in the direct spinning process (<0.1%) and the role of S in limiting C diffusion and resulting in catalyst particles not being in thermodynamic equilibrium with solid carbon, therefore producing graphitic edge growth instead of encapsulation. The increase in CNT layers is a consequence of particle coarsening and the ability of larger catalyst particles to accommodate more layers for the same composition. We further present the distribution of CNT chiralities obtained from ED, Raman spectroscopy and Emission spectra and discuss these findings in the context of the current screw dislocation growth model accepted in the field. Finally, we show the application of basic polymer fibre spinning principles to produce highly oriented CNT fibres by reducing entanglements in the gas phase through CNT dilution. The resulting fibres have tensile properties superior to those of Kevlar, high electrical conductivity and a very large surface area. The exploitation of these properties in sensors, supercapacitors and other devices is briefly demonstrated.
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