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Chemical Recycling of Consumer-Grade Black Plastic into Electrically Conductive Carbon Nanotubes

1
Energy Safety Research Institute, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Swansea SA1 8EN, UK
2
Chalmers University of Technology, Division of Energy Technology, Hörsalsvägen 7B, 412 58 Göteborg, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 12 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon in the Circular Economy)
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Abstract

The global plastics crisis has recently focused scientists’ attention on finding technical solutions for the ever-increasing oversupply of plastic waste. Black plastic is one of the greatest contributors to landfill waste, because it cannot be sorted using industrial practices based on optical reflection. However, it can be readily upcycled into carbon nanotubes (CNTs) using a novel liquid injection reactor (LIR) chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method. In this work, CNTs were formed using black and white polystyrene plastics to demonstrate that off-the-shelf materials can be used as feedstock for growth of CNTs. Scanning electron microscopy analysis suggests the CNTs from plastic sources improve diameter distribution homogeneity, with slightly increased diameters compared with control samples. Slight improvements in quality, as determined by Raman spectroscopy of the D and G peaks, suggest that plastics could lead to increased quality of CNTs. A small device was constructed as a demonstrator model to increase impact and public engagement. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular economy; carbon nanotube; conduction; chemical recycling, carbon wires circular economy; carbon nanotube; conduction; chemical recycling, carbon wires
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hedayati, A.; Barnett, C.J.; Swan, G.; Orbaek White, A. Chemical Recycling of Consumer-Grade Black Plastic into Electrically Conductive Carbon Nanotubes. C 2019, 5, 32.

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