Talk about the past and present life of carbon nanotubes and graphene


Jul 20, 2023

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Are carbon nanotubes graphene?
Carbon atoms are the basis of both graphene (a single-layer graphite sheet) and carbon nanotubes. Graphene is a one-layer graphite layer, the most fundamental structural unit of graphite. Carbon nanotubes are made by curling graphene. Carbon nanotubes, which are made up of hexagonal tubes of several tens layers of carbon atoms, are formed by arranging the atoms in hexagons. Carbon nanotubes look like graphene (a hexagonal carbon grid) that has been rolled into cylindrical form. Both graphene (a hexagonal lattice of carbon) and carbon nanotubes are characterized by extraordinary mechanical and electrical properties.

Research on carbon nanotubes, in terms of characterization, application and preparation technology has now reached a certain level of depth and breadth. Due to their close relationship, both research methods and composition are very similar. Carbon nanotubes were the original inspiration for many graphene-related research methods.

What is different between carbon nanotubes (CNT) and graphene?

Graphene can be described as a two dimensional material. It is a graphite layer with carbon atoms arranged into a hexagonal honeycomb pattern. Carbon nanotubes consist of hollow cylindrical structures. They are basically a graphene layer rolled into an cylinder. Both are representative of two-dimensional nanomaterials (2D) as well as one-dimensional (1D).

Carbon nanotubes are one-dimensional carbon crystal structures, whereas graphene is only composed of a single carbon layer and is a real two-dimensional solid structure.

Graphene, from a performance perspective, has properties that are comparable or superior to those of carbon nanotubes. These include high electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity; high carrier mobility; free electron movement area, and high strength and rigidity.

According to their number of layers they can be divided in single-walled and multi-walled nanotubes. The single-walled carbon Nanotubes are also part of the graphene family. Layer graphene or graphene microplatelets.

Is graphene better than carbon nanotubes in terms of strength?

Both graphene and carbon nanotubes are graphite in essence. But the arrangement and combinations of carbon atoms differ, creating spiral carbon nanotubes whereas graphene is a sheet. They both share some graphite characteristics.
Graphene, on the other hand, is much superior in the long term to any nanofiller or carbon nanotubes at transferring the extraordinary mechanical properties of the material to the host. Graphene has a unique two-dimensional structural and application advantage over carbon nanotubes.

Although graphene, and carbon nanotubes share a common pre-existence they will likely have a very different future. The dispute between two-dimensional and three-dimensional material is the primary cause. Nanowires and microtubes often have a disadvantage when competing against thin-film material. As an example, carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes can be considered as single crystals with high aspect ratios. Current synthesis technology and assembly techniques cannot create carbon nanotube crystals of macroscopic size, thus limiting carbon applications. The graphene structure is two-dimensional and has several properties that are unmatched (strength; electrical conductivity; heat conduction). It can also grow in an area of a great deal. Combining bottom-up with top-down can lead to exciting future applications.

How does graphene convert into carbon nanotubes

For carbon nanotubes to be formed, graphene and the carbon atoms are manipulated into a thin plate that is then rolled into an cylinder. The graphene sheets that are used to produce nanotubes have a two-dimensional structure because graphene has only one atom thickness.
New graphene and carbon nanotube catalyst can ignite a clean-energy revolution

Researchers have developed promising graphene/carbon nanotube catalysers to better control chemical reactions important for the production of hydrogen fuel.

Fuel cells, water electrolyzers and fuel cells that are efficient and cheap will be at the core of the hydrogen fuel economy. This is one the most promising alternatives to fossil fuels. The electrocatalysts that are used in these devices make them work. Developing low-cost, efficient catalysts will be crucial for making hydrogen fuel a viable option. Researchers from Aalto University created a new kind of catalyst material for these technologies.

The team, in collaboration with CNRS, created a graphene-carbon Nanotube hybrid that is highly porous and contains single atoms known to act as catalysts. Carbon nanotubes are allotropes, or two-dimensional and three-dimensional versions of carbon that are each one-atom thick. Carbon nanotubes and graphene are more popular than traditional materials in the industry and academia due to their exceptional performance. The world has shown great interest. They developed an easy and scalable way to grow all these nanomaterials together and combine their properties into a single product.

The catalyst is typically deposited onto the substrate. Researchers ignore the substrate’s role in the final reaction of the catalyst. But for this type of catalyst, they found that it plays an important part in its efficiency. The researchers discovered that the porous nature of the material allowed it to access more catalyst sites located at the interface between the substrate and the material. The researchers developed a new electrochemical microscopy analysis method to determine how the interface contributed to the catalytic process and to produce the most potent catalyst. They hope their research on how the matrix influences the catalytic activities of porous material will provide the basis for designing high-performance electrochemical energy devices.

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