New method of producing carbon nanotubes

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal have developed a new method of producing carbon nanotubes that has excellent commercial potential.

Carbon nanotubes, the discovery of which dates back to 1991, are cylinders composed of carbon atoms in a regular hexagonal arrangement and closed at the ends by a hemispherical plug. They have remarkable mechanical and electronic properties and have significant application potential in several fields, from high resistance composite materials, to sensors and optical and electronic 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.

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According to the researchers, unlike current production processes that limit the use of carbon nanotubes, their method will bring production to industrial levels. Quebec is also an important player in the field of thermal plasmas around the world.

Contacts: Department of Chemical Engineering, jean-luc.meunier@mcgill.ca, tel: + 1 (514) 398 8331

Sources: Newswire, 15 / 07 / 2004, McGill University. Nicolas Vaslier MONTREAL.

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