Growth of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes on Carbon Fabric

Philippe A. Lacasse1, Kirstin Kepple1, Graham Sanborn2, K.M. Gruenberg3, and W. Jud Ready1. (1) Electro-Optical Systems Lab, Georgia Tech Research Institute, 939 Dalney Street, Atlanta, GA 30332-0826, (2) Spring Hill College, 4000 Dauphin St., Mobile, AL 36608, (3) Milliken Research Corporation, PO Box 1926, 920 Milliken Rd, Spartanburg, SC 2930

The poster submitted details the attempts to grow carbon nanotubes on carbon fiber. The carbon fiber had been produced commercially by the Milliken Corporation and treated with a sizing polymer to maintain structural integrity. Previous research demonstrated favorable carbon nanotube growth on similar carbon fabric without the sizing polymer, so it was suggested that the sizing polymer inhibited the growth of multi-walled carbon nanotubes. The purpose of the project was to investigate methods to remove the sizing polymer and allow for the fabric to be used as a substrate for nanotube growth. The procedure was designed to remove the sizing from woven carbon fiber cloth using various wash methods. After being scrubbed in a 1wt% alconox solution, the cloth was sonicated in deionized water, on medium to high power, for thirty seconds. These steps were designed to remove as much of the polymer as possible and then remove the alconox solution from the fabric. The cloth samples were then exposed to an acetone bath to remove any residue. A catalyst layer of five nines purity iron was then deposited through the thermal evaporation technique and the chemical vapor deposition technique was used to attempt to grow nanotubes. Examination of the processed cloth in the Hitachi S-800 scanning electron microscope demonstrated little appreciable carbon nanotube growth, though suggested some superficial damage to the sizing polymer.