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John O | October 2017

Professor receives grant to work on scaling up production of carbon nanotubes


Placidus Amama, a Kansas State University (Manhattan) assistant profesasor and Tim Taylor chair in chemical engineering, has received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to work through challenges in scaling up the production of carbon nanotubes from industrial waste gas.

 


Flying through a carbon nanotube. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

The nanomaterial has a unique combination of thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties and is being studied for its potential application in a host of industries, including electronics, fuel cells, automotive, and more.

 

“While significant progress has been made in the past two decades in scaling up production of carbon nanotubes via chemical vapor deposition,” a report from Kansas State explained, “the process still faces key challenges due to poor yield, low nanotube nucleation density, variations in properties and the high cost.”

 

Amama will be working with a process called Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to produce an industrial waste gas mixture as feedstock for low-cost and scalable production of carbon nanotubes.

 

“The project will help develop the understanding required to couple the growth process to the waste stream of the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process for scalable and controlled growth of nanotube arrays,” the article continued.

 

"Our results will help meet the ever-increasing global demand for nanotubes — currently at more than 1 kiloton per year," Amama said. "Use of this feedstock for nanotube growth will also minimize the amount of flue gases in oil refineries, thus enhancing environmental protection."

 

Amama received an NSF CAREER award by coupling carbon nanotubes and TiO2 in coatings for outdoor air purification.

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