Aerosol formation of Sea-Urchin-like nanostructures of carbon nanotubes on bimetallic nanocomposite particles
With the advantage of continuous production of pure carbon nanotubes (CNTs), a new simple aerosol process for the formation of CNTs was developed. A combination of conventional spray pyrolysis and thermal chemical vapor deposition enabled the formation unusual sea-urchin-like carbon nanostructures composed of multi-walled CNTs and metal composite nanoparticles. The CNTs formed were relatively untangled and uniform with a diameter of less than ~10 nm. The key to the formation of CNTs in this way was to create a substrate particle containing both a catalytic and non-catalytic component, which prevented coking. The density of the CNTs grown on the spherical metal nanoparticles could be controlled by perturbing the density of the metal catalysts (Fe) in the host non-catalytic metal particle matrix (Al). Mobility size measurement was identified as a useful technique to real-time characterization of either the catalytic formation of thin carbon layer or CNTs on the surface of the metal aerosol. These materials have shown unique properties in enhancing the thermal conductivity of fluids. Other potential advantages are that the as-produced material can be manipulated easily without the concern of high mobility of conventional nanowires, and then subsequently released at the desired time in an unagglomerated state.