The fascinating electrical and mechanical properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) have opened a great number of potential application for these unique materials. However, the high costs of the current production method and the difficulty in making them available for large-scale manufacturing can slow down the process of bringing this technology to commercial production.
At the University of Oklahoma we pointed out that the catalytic decomposition method was suitable for scaling up and for achieving a "controlled production" of SWNT. By this we implied the ability to control the selectivity towards SWNT by changing catalyst parameters and operating conditions, all combined with the ability to obtain a reliable quantitative measurement of the amount of SWNT produced.
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Tacking hydrophobic organosilyl groups onto the surface of a common zeolite helps overcome the catalyst’s inability to function effectively when liquid water is the reaction medium, chemical engineers have found. The researchers believe their water-repelling zeolite could be a hit for high-pressure water/oil emulsion processing of biomass into fuels and chemicals. The protecting group strategy could also benefit other types of catalysts that are inhibited by water, they say.