Cold Wall Reactor for Continuous Production of Carbon Nanomaterials

Abstract

Current lab-scale carbon nanotube (CNT) production methods have processing times in excess of one hour, but the actual growth of CNTs only takes a few minutes. The additional processing time is due in part to the hot-wall batch design of existing reactors, where the entire body of the reactor has to be heated and cooled for each production cycle. Heating the entire reactor is inefficient and research has shown that it is only necessary to heat the substrate on which the CNTs are grown. Current research demonstrates the feasibility of producing CNTs continuously, but a complete working reactor has yet to be realized. The design of the cold wall reactor for the continuous production of CNTs features a heating plate and a ïreel-to-reelÍ substrate feeding system housed in an insulated reactor vessel. The feeding system passes the thin flexable substrate across the heating element, raising it to the required temperature. Meanwhile, hydrocarbon gas is impinged upon the substrate, depositing the carbon required for CNT growth. This final design was developed and built into a prototype which will be tested by reasearchers at Northeastern Univeristy in a second phase of this project.