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Home > News > Supercritical fluid processing of carbon nanotube composites

December 17th, 2008

Supercritical fluid processing of carbon nanotube composites

Abstract:
Supercritical fluids are quickly becoming an alternative to costly and dangerous organic solvents in chemical processes. As the boundaries between gas and liquid blur at high temperatures and pressure, a supercritical fluid loses surface tension and can act as an impressive solvent. Readers of Nobel Intent have seen the endless stream of CNT coverage as the nanotechnology boom continues—it was only a matter of time before carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and supercritical fluids were put together.

Supercritical fluid processing of CNTs has generated composite materials that, in some cases, are easier and cheaper to prepare, while in others produced entirely new nanostructures. Advanced Materials has put together a review showing the diversity of the structures prepared with supercritical fluids and CNTs.

CNTs, despite all their glowing press coverage, don't play well with others. The lock-tight carbon-carbon bonding makes it difficult to bond other molecules to their surface, a process called functionalizing, and the low surface tension makes any attempts at sticking particles to the CNT the rough equivalent of trying to glue something to a Teflon frying pan. The difficulties associated with dispersing CNTs in a solution (past coverage of this problem, and one solution, can be found here) makes solution processing and bulk preparation of CNT composites difficult.

Source:
arstechnica.com

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