SBIR Phase I: Process for Production of Carbon Nanotubes from Re-Usable Catalytic Substrate

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nanomaterials Research, LLC
1831 Left Hand Circle
Longmont, CO 80501
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a novel process for manufacturing carbon nanotubes (CNTs). There is great demand for CNTs from composite materials manufacturers, but current technology cannot yet provide large quantities of CNTs at an affordable price. Multi-wall carbon nanotubes will be grown from a re-usable catalytic substrate by pyrolysis of a carbon feedstock gas. The reusable catalytic substrate will provide control over the diameter of the CNTs in the range from 5nm to 100nm. After the CNTs have been grown from the catalytic substrate they will be physically removed (harvested), and the catalytic substrate can be reused. The resulting CNTs will be free of catalyst metal contamination and largely monodisperse. This process can be fully automated and is scalable to high volumes at very low cost. This project will prove the feasibility of this approach by demonstrating repeatable synthesis of carbon nanotubes from the same catalytic substrates. Nanotubes of different diameter will be produced and their structure will be characterized. The experimental data will be used to create a detailed analysis of the manufacturing economics for the approach and its competitiveness will be evaluated.