Effect of metal catalyst and tailoring the conditions for cnf/cnt growth through cvd
Dumanlı, Ahu Gümrah (2008) Effect of metal catalyst and tailoring the conditions for cnf/cnt growth through cvd. [Thesis]
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Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1228177 (Table of Contents)
In this study, high-temperature acetylene gas was delivered to the reactive sites of matrix-supported transition metal catalysts by means of a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) apparatus, yielding carbon nanofibers (CNF) and nanotubes (CNT). A principle feature that delineated this pyrolysis-induced polymerization from prior studies lay in the method used to support the nanoscale transition metal catalysts. In particular, sodium chloride, a byproduct of the catalyst synthesis, was deliberately retained and exploited in subsequent manipulations for the reason that it performed remarkably well as a support medium. In comparison to typical silica and alumina-based support media, a non-porous sodium chloride medium clearly revealed major operational advantages in the matter of fabricating carbon species such as nanorods and nanotubes. In particular, pyrolysis could be conducted at temperatures spanning 500°C to 700°C without observing any agglomeration and subsequent sintering of the catalyst. The root cause of the high stability of these catalytic nanoparticles was not elucidated conclusively but it appeared to be related to the segregating effect of the support matrix, which could arise initially by the direct interaction between mobile chloride ions and the catalyst surface, and subsequently via encapsulation of each catalyst particle, by the growing polymeric species. The other noteworthy peculiarity of sodium chloride as a support material lay in its markedly different morphology, which could be characterized as microcrystalline and non-porous, with catalytic particles dispersed throughout the medium as opposed to remaining surface-pendent. While somewhat counter-intuitive, the zero-porosity of this matrix did not pose any apparent drawbacks in the matter of fabricating carbon nanofibers or nanotubes. In fact, the catalytic effectiveness of many transition metals particles was comparable or better than those of the prior art, whose effectiveness typically rests on utilizing a highly-porous and high-surface support medium with an interconnected morphology. High catalytic activity appeared to be promoted by the fact that the sodium chloride matrix became mobile and acetylene-permeable at elevated temperatures, the most important evidence originating from electron micrographs, which clearly indicated carbon-coated catalysts encased entirely in sodium chloride. In comparing several transition metal oxides, the most active catalyst was clearly nickel-based. The activity of the nickel catalyst did not appear to strongly depend on the ligand used in its fabrication but there was certainly a catalytic dependency on the size of the particle. Kinetic analyses of catalysts indicated that carbon-carbon bond formation was not reaction limited. Rather, the mass transfer of carbon units within the bulk or its chemisorption dynamics was in fact rate limiting, in agreement with literature studies on related systems. It followed to reason that the superior performance of nickel over other transition metal oxides was directly related to its stronger chemisorptivity of carbon species. Reaction rate versus flow rate measurements yielded a pseudo rate constant of zero for all catalyst types, implying that acetylene was saturating under the conditions of reaction. At prolonged reaction times, all catalysts lost their activity. While the possibility of catalyst poisoning could not be ruled out, other indications suggested that poor mass transfer of either the feedstock or the growing product were the likely cause. The morphology of carbon nanotubes were relatively typical whereas the morphology of nanofibers were subject to great variability, often ranging from straight rods to nanocoils to Y-junction or second order nanotubes on nanofiber structures. A hierarchy of the rules that governed the course of growth was not clearly established in this study but the major cause of this diversity appeared to be directly related to the shape, surface properties and the chemistry of the catalyst. Two other important parameters appeared to be the gas flow rate and the pyrolysis temperature. A final merit of employing the sodium chloride support technology was related to its preparative generality and practicality, particularly in view that it could enable the synthesis of metal catalysts and polymeric carbon species while precluding some common drawbacks such as toxicity, harsh experimental manipulations, and high cost. Even the quantitative recovery of catalyst could be facilitated by dissolution of the salt support in water, followed by filtration. It follows to reason that further development and fine-tuning of this novel and non-porous support technology can instigate a new class of support materials and can potentially open the door to the synthesis of carbon-based nanostructures with truly unusual physico-chemical traits.
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