Fabricating and processing carbon nanomaterials using vortex fluidic technology

Author: Thaar Alharbi

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 15 Feb 2024.

Alharbi, Thaar, 2020 Fabricating and processing carbon nanomaterials using vortex fluidic technology, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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The availability of carbon nanomaterials with controllable size, shape and morphology has attracted considerable attention due to their explicit chemical and physical properties, such as excellent thermal and optical properties, high mechanical strength and electrical conductivity. Various methods have been developed to date for the ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ fabrication of carbon nanomaterials with specific control of their size, shape, morphology and surface property, featuring in a diverse range of applications. While there has been spectacular progress in fabricating nanomaterials with such properties, there are several limitations and challenges to overcome. These include the need for high molecular weight reagents, long and tedious processing conditions, the use of chemical stabilisers, the inherent high cost of the associated complex processing, and low yields. These limitations and challenges can be overcome using thin film microfluidics which has emerged in the last few years with remarkable outcomes, as highlighted by the development of simple one step methods of controlling the fabrication of zero dimensional (0D), one dimensional (1D) and two dimensional (2D) nanomaterials. Collectively, these are also important in developing environmentally sustainable processes, which are also economically feasible. Thin film microfluidics have potential advantages in chemical processing which relates to the large surface-to-volume ratio in the thin films, reduced reaction times, precise control over residence time and temperature, improved safety, and more importantly the ability to address scalability at the inception of the science.

The focus of this dissertation is creating a paradigm shift in nanoscience by using a thin film microfluidics platform, the vortex fluidic device (VFD), to control the fabrication of nanocarbon materials. The VFD has proved its capabilities in diverse areas, which includes but not limited to controlling the length of single and multiwalled carbon nanotubes, overcoming the high tensile strength of SWCNTs to form highly magnetic coiled rings, controlling the crystallisation of 0D fullerenes and fabricating composites of nanomaterial. These composite materials have proven potential in supercapacitors, with other potential applications under consideration. Within all the processing capabilities, the key advantage of the VFD is the ability to control the fabrication of nanomaterials without the need for toxic and harsh chemicals, as simple one step methods devoid of chemical stabilisers and surfactants and most importantly while simultaneously scalability of the processing.

Keywords: Carbon Nanomaterials, Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD), Continuous Flow, Shear Stress, Slicing, Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, Fullerene

Subject: Chemistry thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2020
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Colin Raston