Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with well-defined hollow interiors, and different morphologies have been grown inside the nanochannels of iron substituted SBA-15 (Santa Barbara Amorphous) with different iron contents and well-ordered large mesopores by chemical vapour deposition method. This novel method requires only 3 min for the formation of high quality multiwalled CNTs inside the SBA-15. The physico-chemical characteristics of the prepared CNT/Fe-SBA-15 nanocomposite have been analysed with powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Raman spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). XRD, Raman spectroscopy and TGA results confirm that the formed CNTs in SBA-15 nanochannels are highly pure and graphitic in nature, which can be altered by tuning the Fe content in the support matrix. SEM images show the interconnected network of SBA-15/CNT where CNT bridges the neighbouring SBA-15 nanoparticles. Interestingly, spring like CNTs and multi-terminal junctions such as Y and H junctions were also observed. The morphology of the CNTs inside the nanochannels of the SBA-15 support can also be controlled by the simple adjustment of the iron content in the SBA-15 framework. It has also been found that the content of Fe in the silica framework of SBA-15 plays a significant role in the formation of the CNTs and the amount of deposited CNTs in the nanochannels of SBA-15 increased with increasing the concentration of iron in framework. Among the materials studied, the FeSBA-15 with the nSi/nFe ratio of 2 showed the highest catalytic activity towards the formation of high quality CNTs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Ajayan Vinu is grateful to ARC for the award of the future fellowship and the University of Queensland for the start-up grant. The project was also financially supported by King Saud University, Vice Deanship of Scientific Research Chairs.
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- Carbon nanotube
- Catalytic growth