Spontaneous Dissolution of Ultralong Carbon Nanotubes for Production of Neat CNT Fibers

Thursday, October 20, 2011: 1:30 PM
205 D (Minneapolis Convention Center)
A. Nicholas G. Parra-Vasquez1, Natnael Behabtu1, Micah J. Green1, Cary L. Pint2, Colin C. Young1, Judith Schmidt3, Ellina Kesselman3, Anubha Goyal4, Pulickel M. Ajayan4, Yachin Cohen3, Yeshayahu Talmon3, Robert H. Hauge2 and Matteo Pasquali1, (1)Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, Houston, TX, (2)Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University, Houston, TX, (3)Chemical Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel, (4)Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, Houston, TX

We report that chlorosulfonic acid is a true solvent for a wide range of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), including single-walled (SWNTs), double-walled (DWNTs), multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), and CNTs hundreds of micrometers long. The CNTs dissolve as individuals at low concentrations, as determined by cryo-TEM (cryogenic transmission electron microscopy), and form liquid-crystalline phases at high concentrations. The mechanism of dissolution is electrostatic stabilization through reversible protonation of the CNT side walls, as previously established for SWNTs. CNTs with highly defective side walls do not protonate sufficiently and, hence, do not dissolve. The dissolution and liquid-crystallinity of ultralong CNTs are critical advances in the liquid-phase processing of macroscopic CNT-based materials, such as fibers and films.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded