Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

These could revolutionize the world

24.05.2018

Vanderbilt prof cracks code to cheap, small carbon nanotubes

Imagine a box you plug into the wall that cleans your toxic air and pays you cash.


These are small diameter carbon nanotubes grown on a stainless steel surface.

Credit: Pint Lab/Vanderbilt Univerity

That's essentially what Vanderbilt University researchers produced after discovering the blueprint for turning the carbon dioxide into the most valuable material ever sold - carbon nanotubes with small diameters.

Carbon nanotubes are supermaterials that can be stronger than steel and more conductive than copper. The reason they're not in every application from batteries to tires is that these amazing properties only show up in the tiniest nanotubes, which are extremely expensive. Not only did the Vanderbilt team show they can make these materials from carbon dioxide sucked from the air, but how to do this in a way that is much cheaper than any other method out there.

These materials, which Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Cary Pint calls "black gold," could steer the conversation from the negative impact of emissions to how we can use them in future technology.

"One of the most exciting things about what we've done is use electrochemistry to pull apart carbon dioxide into elemental constituents of carbon and oxygen and stitch together, with nanometer precision, those carbon atoms into new forms of matter," Pint said. "That opens the door to being able to generate really valuable products with carbon nanotubes.

"These could revolutionize the world."

In a report published today in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Pint, interdisciplinary material science Ph.D. student Anna Douglas and their team describe how tiny nanoparticles 10,000 times smaller than a human hair can be produced from coatings on stainless steel surfaces. The key was making them small enough to be valuable.

"The cheapest carbon nanotubes on the market cost around $100-200 per kilogram," Douglas said. "Our research advance demonstrates a pathway to synthesize carbon nanotubes better in quality than these materials with lower cost and using carbon dioxide captured from the air."

But making small nanotubes is no small task. The research team showed that a process called Ostwald ripening -- where the nanoparticles that grow the carbon nanotubes change in size to larger diameters -- is a key contender against producing the infinitely more useful size. The team showed they could partially overcome this by tuning electrochemical parameters to minimize these pesky large nanoparticles.

This core technology led Pint and Douglas to co-found SkyNano LLC, a company focused on building upon the science of this process to scale up and commercialize products from these materials.

"What we've learned is the science that opens the door to now build some of the most valuable materials in our world, such as diamonds and single-walled carbon nanotubes, from carbon dioxide that we capture from air through our process," Pint said.

###

Video related to the research: https://youtu.be/neoAlC89Jrw

Link to SkyNano LLC page:

https://www.skynanotechnologies.com/

Link to Cary Pint's webpage:

https://my.vanderbilt.edu/pintlab/cary_pint/

Other researchers involved in the study were Rachel Carter, formerly a Vanderbilt University Ph.D. student and presently a Nuclear Regulatory Commission postdoctoral fellow at Naval Research Laboratory, and Mengya Li, graduate student in mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University.

This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation grant CMMI 1400424 and Vanderbilt University start-up funds. Douglas is supported in part by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Heidi Hall | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2018/05/23/these-could-revolutionize-the-world-pint-cracks-code-to-cheap-small-carbon-nanotubes/
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.8b02834

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Turning up the heat to create new nanostructured metals
21.11.2019 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

nachricht Small particles, big effects: How graphene nanoparticles improve the resolution of microscopes
20.11.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Machine learning microscope adapts lighting to improve diagnosis

Prototype microscope teaches itself the best illumination settings for diagnosing malaria

Engineers at Duke University have developed a microscope that adapts its lighting angles, colors and patterns while teaching itself the optimal...

Im Focus: Small particles, big effects: How graphene nanoparticles improve the resolution of microscopes

Conventional light microscopes cannot distinguish structures when they are separated by a distance smaller than, roughly, the wavelength of light. Superresolution microscopy, developed since the 1980s, lifts this limitation, using fluorescent moieties. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now discovered that graphene nano-molecules can be used to improve this microscopy technique. These graphene nano-molecules offer a number of substantial advantages over the materials previously used, making superresolution microscopy even more versatile.

Microscopy is an important investigation method, in physics, biology, medicine, and many other sciences. However, it has one disadvantage: its resolution is...

Im Focus: Atoms don't like jumping rope

Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.

By controlling individual atoms, quantum properties can be investigated and made usable for technological applications. For about ten years, physicists have...

Im Focus: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists first to develop rapid cell division in marine sponges

21.11.2019 | Life Sciences

First detection of gamma-ray burst afterglow in very-high-energy gamma light

21.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Research team discovers three supermassive black holes at the core of one galaxy

21.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>