A gas-phase process of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) formation, based on thermal decomposition of iron pentacarbonyl or ferrocene in the presence of carbon monoxide (CO), was investigated in ambient pressure laminar flow reactors in the temperature range of 600–1300 °C. Ferrocene was found to be a better catalyst precursor in the studied conditions since iron pentacarbonyl decomposes at lower temperatures resulting in the excessive growth of catalyst particles. In situ sampling carried out at 1000 °C showed that the SWCNT growth occurred from individual metal particles in the heating section of the furnace in the temperature range of 891–928 °C, in which the growth rate was estimated to exceed 2 μm/s. FT-IR measurements of gaseous products revealed that the majority of the CO disproportionation took place on the reactor walls. Raman measurements confirmed the results of TEM observations, namely, the formation of very high purity SWCNT product. On-line aerosol number size distributions were measured to detect the conditions of SWCNT formation and the product morphology changes. Mechanism of SWCNT formation in the gas phase from ferrocene and CO is discussed.
- carbon nanotubes
- single-walled carbon nanotubes
- laminar flow
- particle formation