New catalyst precursors (copper and nickel acetylacetonates) have been used successfully for the synthesis of carbon nanotubes and onion particles from carbon monoxide. Catalyst nanoparticles and carbon products were produced by metal–organic precursor vapour decomposition and catalytic disproportionation of carbon monoxide in a laminar flow reactor at temperatures between 705 and 1216 °C. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were formed in the presence of nickel particles at 923–1216 °C. The CNTs were single-walled, 1–3 nm in diameter and up to 90 nm long. Hollow carbon onion particles (COPs) were produced in the presence of copper particles at 1216 °C. The COPs were from 5 to 30 nm in diameter and consisted of several concentric carbon layers surrounding a hollow core. The results of computational fluid dynamics calculations to determine the temperature and velocity profiles and mixing conditions of the species in the reactor are presented. The mechanisms for the formation of both CNTs and COPs are discussed on the basis of the experimental and computational results.
- carbon nanotubes
- carbon onions