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Carbon Nanotube Synthesis Using Coal Pyrolysis

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2015, 00:00 by Kapil Moothi, Geoffrey S. Simate, Rosemary Falcon, Sunny E. Iyuke, M. Meyyappan
This study investigates carbon nanotube (CNT) production from coal pyrolysis wherein the output gases are used in a chemical vapor deposition reactor. The carbon products are similar to those using commercial coal gas as feedstock, but coal is a relatively cheaper feedstock compared to high purity source gases. A Gibbs minimization model has been developed to predict the volume percentages of product gases from coal pyrolysis. Methane and carbon monoxide were the largest carbon components of the product stream and thus formed the primary source for CNT synthesis. Both the model and the observations showed that increasing the furnace temperature led to a decrease in the absolute quantities of “useful” product gases, with the optimal temperature between 400 and 500 °C. Based on the experimental data, a kinetic rate law for CNT from coal pyrolysis was derived as d­[CNT]/dt = K([CO]­[CH4])1/2, where K is a function of several equilibrium constants representing various reactions in the CNT formation process.