, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 726-734

Mechanism of Coking on Metal Catalyst Surfaces: I. Thermodynamic Analysis of Nucleation

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Thermodynamic analysis of carbon nucleation on a metal surface is carried out. The fundamental equation is obtained that relates the critical radius of a nucleus and reaction parameters, such as temperature, metal particle oversaturation by carbon, the work of metal adhesion to graphite, and the metal–carbon bond energy. The results are compared with experimental data and conditions for the formation of carbon deposits of various kinds on metal particles are analyzed. A new mechanism for the formation of carbon nanotubes with a “bamboo” structure is proposed. This mechanism is based on a periodical change in the degree of metal particle oversaturation by carbon. The optimal conditions for the synthesis of single-wall nanotubes are formulated.