Researchers at McGill University in Montreal have developed a new method of producing carbon nanotubes with excellent commercial potential.
Carbon nanotubes, first discovered in 1991, are cylinders made up of carbon atoms in a regular hexagonal arrangement and closed at the ends by a hemispherical plug. They exhibit remarkable mechanical and electronic properties and have significant application potential in several fields, from high resistance composite materials, to optical and electronic sensors and devices, including catalysts, batteries and fuel cells.
The method developed by the researchers is based on plasma technology. The term "thermal plasmas" refers to the characteristic state of a thermodynamic equilibrium existing between electrons, ions, atoms and molecules. Thermal plasmas generally display temperatures between 4000 ° C and 25 ° C and are created by electric arcs or by magnetic induction.
According to the researchers, unlike current production methods which limit the use of carbon nanotubes, their method will allow production to be brought up to industrial levels. Quebec is also a major player in the field of thermal plasmas in the world.
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Sources: Newswire, 15 / 07 / 2004, McGill University. Nicolas Vaslier MONTREAL.