Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 551–562 | Cite as

Economic assessment of single-walled carbon nanotube processes

  • J. A. IsaacsEmail author
  • A. Tanwani
  • M. L. Healy
  • L. J. Dahlben
Research Paper


The carbon nanotube market is steadily growing and projected to reach $1.9 billion by 2010. This study examines the economics of manufacturing single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) using process-based cost models developed for arc, CVD, and HiPco processes. Using assumed input parameters, manufacturing costs are calculated for 1 g SWNT for arc, CVD, and HiPco, totaling $1,906, $1,706, and $485, respectively. For each SWNT process, the synthesis and filtration steps showed the highest costs, with direct labor as a primary cost driver. Reductions in production costs are calculated for increased working hours per day and for increased synthesis reaction yield (SRY) in each process. The process-based cost models offer a means for exploring opportunities for cost reductions, and provide a structured system for comparisons among alternative SWNT manufacturing processes. Further, the models can be used to comprehensively evaluate additional scenarios on the economics of environmental, health, and safety best manufacturing practices.


Single-walled nanotube (SWNT) Nanotubes Manufacturing Economics Production cost 



This study was supported in part by National Science Foundation awards SES-0404114 and EEC-0425826 through the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing at Northeastern University. The authors thank Zeynep Ok for discussions and her contributions to Table 1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Isaacs
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • A. Tanwani
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. L. Healy
    • 1
    • 4
  • L. J. Dahlben
    • 1
  1. 1.NSF Center for High-rate NanomanufacturingNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Infojini Solutions Inc.MarylandUSA
  4. 4.Babcock Power Inc.WorcesterUSA

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