Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Volcanoes And Nanotechnology: Direct Synthesis Of Carbon Nanotubes With Volcanic Rock

Date:
February 6, 2007
Source:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Summary:
Since their discovery, carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers have been used in a wide variety of applications. However, because their production on an industrial scale remains expensive, their commercial use in such areas as catalysis has remained unthinkable. This could now be changing: Dang Sheng Su and his co-workers have used igneous rock from Mount Etna to produce carbon nanotubes and fibers.

Since their discovery in the early 1990s, carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers—tiny structures made of pure carbon—have been used in a wide variety of applications. They have become indispensable in the nanosciences and nanotechnology. However, because their production on an industrial scale remains expensive, their commercial use in such areas as catalysis has remained unthinkable.

Related Articles


This could now be changing, thanks to researchers from the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin: Dang Sheng Su and his co-workers have used igneous rock from Mount Etna to produce carbon nanotubes and fibers directly by deposition from the gas phase. As they explain in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the naturally occurring iron oxide particles in lava make it an effective natural catalyst, possibly smoothing the way to a more efficient production method.

Etna is the most active European volcano. During its particularly violent eruptions in 2002 and 2003, several million cubic meters of lava were ejected. The fertility of mineral-rich volcanic soils has long been known; Su and his colleagues wanted to elicit another, completely new sort of “fertility” for science. It could be amazingly helpful in the synthesis of carbon nanotubes and fibers.

Lava rock is extremely porous and contains large quantities of finely divided iron oxides. This is just what is needed for the synthesis of these tiny carbon structures. The researchers pulverize the rocks and heat them to 700 C under a hydrogen atmosphere. This reduces the iron oxide particles to elemental iron. When a mixture of the gases hydrogen and ethylene is directed over the powder, the iron particles catalyze the decomposition of ethylene to elemental carbon. This is deposited on the lava rock in the form of tiny tubes and fibers.

The advantages of this new method? The catalyst is produced naturally in large quantities and is thus affordable; the catalytic iron does not need to be deposited on any kind of substrate, as the lava is both catalyst and substrate in one; and this process works without any “wet” chemical steps.

The geological aspect of this reaction is also quite interesting: if a carbon source is present, carbon nanotubes and fibers can be formed on minerals at relatively moderate temperatures. Volcanoes produce gases such as methane and hydrogen. Could these forms of carbon already have been generated on Earth millions of years ago? Hydrogen, carbon oxides, and metallic iron are also present in interstellar space—could these little tubes and fibers be produced in space?


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Volcanoes And Nanotechnology: Direct Synthesis Of Carbon Nanotubes With Volcanic Rock." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070206100526.htm>.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. (2007, February 6). Volcanoes And Nanotechnology: Direct Synthesis Of Carbon Nanotubes With Volcanic Rock. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070206100526.htm
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Volcanoes And Nanotechnology: Direct Synthesis Of Carbon Nanotubes With Volcanic Rock." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070206100526.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

RightThisMinute (Jan. 29, 2015) If your car has an "Insane Mode" then you know it&apos;s fast. Well, these unsuspecting passengers were in for one insane ride when they hit the button. Tesla cars are awesome. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins