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Article

On the Use of Carbon Cables from Plastic Solvent Combinations of Polystyrene and Toluene in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis

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Energy Safety Research Institute, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Swansea SA1 8EN, UK
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Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Swansea SA1 8EN, UK
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TECNALIA, Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), Alava Science and Technology Park, Leonardo da Vinci 11, 01510 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
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Nanomaterials Lab, Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Swansea SA1 8EN, UK
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SPECIFIC, Materials Science and Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Swansea SA1 8EN, UK
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School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4041, South Africa
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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA
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Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204, USA
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Swansea University Medical School, Institute of Life Science 2, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Federico Cesano, Simas Rackauskas and Mohammed Jasim Uddin
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12010009
Received: 31 October 2021 / Revised: 13 December 2021 / Accepted: 14 December 2021 / Published: 21 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Nanomaterials for Energy Applications)
For every three people on the planet, there are approximately two Tonnes (Te) of plastic waste. We show that carbon recovery from polystyrene (PS) plastic is enhanced by the coaddition of solvents to grow carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by liquid injection chemical vapour deposition. Polystyrene was loaded up to 4 wt% in toluene and heated to 780 °C in the presence of a ferrocene catalyst and a hydrogen/argon carrier gas at a 1:19 ratio. High resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Raman spectroscopy were used to identify multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The PS addition in the range from 0 to 4 wt% showed improved quality and CNT homogeneity; Raman “Graphitic/Defective” (G/D) values increased from 1.9 to 2.3; mean CNT diameters increased from 43.0 to 49.2 nm; and maximum CNT yield increased from 11.37% to 14.31%. Since both the CNT diameters and the percentage yield increased following the addition of polystyrene, we conclude that carbon from PS contributes to the carbon within the MWCNTs. The electrical contact resistance of acid-washed Bucky papers produced from each loading ranged from 2.2 to 4.4 Ohm, with no direct correlation to PS loading. Due to this narrow range, materials with different loadings were mixed to create the six wires of an Ethernet cable and tested using iPerf3; the cable achieved up- and down- link speeds of ~99.5 Mbps, i.e., comparable to Cu wire with the same dimensions (~99.5 Mbps). The lifecycle assessment (LCA) of CNT wire production was compared to copper wire production for a use case in a Boeing 747-400 over the lifespan of the aircraft. Due to their lightweight nature, the CNT wires decreased the CO2 footprint by 21 kTonnes (kTe) over the aircraft’s lifespan. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon nanotube; plastic; chemical recycling; life cycle assessment; ethernet; circular economy; data transmission; carbon footprint carbon nanotube; plastic; chemical recycling; life cycle assessment; ethernet; circular economy; data transmission; carbon footprint
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MDPI and ACS Style

Orbaek White, A.; Hedayati, A.; Yick, T.; Gangoli, V.S.; Niu, Y.; Lethbridge, S.; Tsampanakis, I.; Swan, G.; Pointeaux, L.; Crane, A.; Charles, R.; Sallah-Conteh, J.; Anderson, A.O.; Davies, M.L.; Corr, S.J.; Palmer, R.E. On the Use of Carbon Cables from Plastic Solvent Combinations of Polystyrene and Toluene in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis. Nanomaterials 2022, 12, 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12010009

AMA Style

Orbaek White A, Hedayati A, Yick T, Gangoli VS, Niu Y, Lethbridge S, Tsampanakis I, Swan G, Pointeaux L, Crane A, Charles R, Sallah-Conteh J, Anderson AO, Davies ML, Corr SJ, Palmer RE. On the Use of Carbon Cables from Plastic Solvent Combinations of Polystyrene and Toluene in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis. Nanomaterials. 2022; 12(1):9. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12010009

Chicago/Turabian Style

Orbaek White, Alvin, Ali Hedayati, Tim Yick, Varun S. Gangoli, Yubiao Niu, Sean Lethbridge, Ioannis Tsampanakis, Gemma Swan, Léo Pointeaux, Abigail Crane, Rhys Charles, Jainaba Sallah-Conteh, Andrew O. Anderson, Matthew L. Davies, Stuart. J. Corr, and Richard E. Palmer. 2022. "On the Use of Carbon Cables from Plastic Solvent Combinations of Polystyrene and Toluene in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis" Nanomaterials 12, no. 1: 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12010009

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