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Purity Evaluation of Carbon Nanotube Materials by Thermogravimetric, TEM, and SEM Methods

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Raw and purified samples of carbon nanotubes are considered as multicomponent systems with a distribution of carbonaceous, amorphous, multishell graphitic particles and nanotubes, together with the particles of metal compounds from the catalyst. With respect to the carbon nanotube fractions, a distribution of size, defect concentrations, and functionalities needs to be taken into account. In order to address the problem of quantitative evaluation of purity it is necessary to measure the quality and distribution of the carbon nanotubes. In this research conventional and high resolution thermogravimetry are applied to quantify different fractions of carbonaceous and metallic materials in raw and moderately purified single walled and multiwalled carbon nanotubes. For each oxidized fraction, defined by careful line shape analysis of the derivative thermogravimetric curves (DTG), the temperature of maximum rate of oxidation, the temperature range for this oxidation, related to the degree of homogeneity, and the amount of associated material is specified. The attribution of carbonaceous materials to each fraction in the distribution was based on SEM and TEM measurements and the literature. The MWNT purified sample with 1.6 wt% metal oxide was investigated by high resolution thermogravimetry (HRTG). The quantitative assessment for the carbonaceous fractions was 25 wt% of amorphous and high defect carbonaceous materials including nanotubes, 54 wt% MWNT and 20 wt% multishell graphitic particles. A qualitative evaluation of these fractions was obtained from the SEM and TEM images and supports these results. The accuracy of the values, taking into account other measurements performed on the same batch of material, should be more sensible than ±4 wt%.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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