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Motivation for Research

Motivation for current research

Through 2010-2011 the direct spinning process technology was transferred to Tortech Nanofibers Ltd who began to develop the technology towards a commercial process.

When we started to think about scale-up, we needed to work out how to make the right catalyst particles, at optimal concentration, in the right location in the reactor to drive production of a high concentration of long CNTs.

 

The received wisdom at the time (2012) was that to improve the catalyst particle formation efficiency then work needed to be done at the injector-zone of the reactor system, the location where ferrocene and thiophene decompose. Improving that decomposition rate and preventing loss of species to the reactor walls in this region were two factors under consideration.

 

A range of different injector designs were developed and tested in conjunction with catalyst particle measurement (using measurement equipment similar to that described in the experimental methods section).

No matter what was done to alter the injector design, the different injection techniques had NO significant influence on the particle measurements.

 

This result formed the motivation for the experimental work reported in the poster. It was clear that the current understanding of how the catalyst nanoparticles behaved in the reactor and influenced the CNT aerogel formation was insufficient to provide the answers required.

 

As a result, the axial characterisation of the catalyst nanoparticle behaviour was the first step in understanding what goes on in the reactor tube.

From there, exploration of the roles of sulphur and carbon in the process became obvious next steps, as shown on the poster.