Controlled syntheses of carbon spheres in a swirled floating catalytic chemical vapour deposition vertical reactor

S. D. Mhlanga, N. J. Coville, S. E. Iyuke, A. S. Afolabi, A. S. Abdulkareem, N. Kunjuzwa

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Onion-like graphite structures, also called carbon spheres (CSs), representanother new allotropic nanophase of carbon materials, which can be potentially used as single electron devices, magnetic refrigerators, nanodiodes, nanotransistors, nanoball bearings, insulator lubricants as well catalyst supports. In this study, carbon nanospheres were synthesised in a vertical swirled floating catalytic chemical vapour deposition reactor for the first time. This process allows for continuous and large scale production of these materials. The CSs were obtained by the pyrolysis of acetylene in an inert atmosphere. The effect of pyrolysis temperatures and the flow rate of argon carrier gas on the size, quality and quantity of the synthesised CSs were investigated. Transmission electron microscope analysis of the carbon material revealed graphitic spheres with a smooth surface and a uniform diameter that could be controlled by varying reaction conditions (size: 50-250nm). The materials were spongy with very low density. The CS production rate was found to increase with the increase in pyrolysis temperature (900-1000° C) and with flow rates of the carbon source (70-370mL min1) and carrier gas (70-480mL min1). Thermogravimetric analysis, powder X-ray diffraction and carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen analysis of the samples revealed that the products mainly contained CSs (98% carbon) and Raman spectroscopy revealed that the degree of graphitisation increased with the increase in pyrolysis temperature (900-1000 C).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Nanoscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

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