Advance Growth Methods for Aligned and Ultra-long Carbon Nanotubes for Naval Applications
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
NextGen Aeronautics teaming with the group of Prof. John Hart at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology addresses the challenges of producing well aligned ultra-long carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers. Recent important developments have shown that individual CNTs can be grown to previously unprecedented lengths (>0.5 m). In this Phase I SBIR project, we plan to demonstrate a new approach to growth of ultra-long CNTs that are mechanically isolated during the growth process. This will be achieved by nucleating individual CNTs from sharp microfabricated edges/tips on a silicon substrate, and guiding the CNTs downstream through the reactor by balancing forces exerted by gas flows and external electric fields. We plan to study chemical vapor deposition conditions that facilitate ultra-long CNT growth, understand the influence of field/flow confinement on the statistics of long CNT growth, and perform quantitative characterization. Within Phase I, we plan for two design iterations, with the refinement to the reactor design based on our initial findings with the static airfoil. At the end of Phase I, we aim to have demonstrated the method for growing inch-long CNT bundles using flow/field guidance, and performed initial mechanical tests relating their properties to quantitative measures of the CNT morphology, diameter, and alignment.
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