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Synthesis of millimeter-scale carbon nanotube arrays and their applications on electrochemical supercapacitors Open Access


Other title
carbon nanotube arrays
electrochemical supercapacitors
chemical vapor deposition
carbon nanotubes
Mn oxide composites
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Cui, Xinwei
Supervisor and department
Chen, Weixing (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Wang, Xiaodong (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Ivey, Douglas (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Li, Dongyang (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Yang, Qiaoqin (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan)
Mitlin, Dave (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Chen, Weixing (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This research is aimed at synthesizing millimeter-scale carbon nanotube arrays (CNTA) by conventional chemical vapor deposition (CCVD) and water-assisted chemical vapor deposition (WACVD) methods, and exploring their application as catalyst supports for electrochemical supercapacitors. The growth mechanism and growth kinetics of CNTA under different conditions were systematically investigated to understand the relationship among physical characteristics of catalyst particles, growth parameters, and carbon nanotube (CNT) structures within CNTAs. Multiwalled CNT (MWCNT) array growth demonstrates lengthening and thickening stages in CCVD and WACVD. In CCVD, the lengthening and thickening were found to be competitive. By investigating catalyst particles after different pretreatment conditions, it has been found that inter-particle spacing plays a significant role in influencing CNTA height, CNT diameter and wall number. In WACVD, a long linear lengthening stage has been found. CNT wall number remains constant and catalysts preserve the activity in this stage, while MWCNTs thicken substantially and catalysts deactivate following the previously proposed radioactive decay model in the thickening stage of WACVD. Water was also shown to preserve the catalyst activity by significantly inhibiting catalyst-induced and gas phase-induced thickening processes in WACVD. Mn3O4 nanoparticles were successfully deposited and uniformly distributed within millimeter-long CNTAs by dip-casting method from non-aqueous solutions. After modification with Mn3O4 nanoparticles, CNTAs have been changed from hydrophobic to hydrophilic without their alignment and integrity being destroyed. The hydrophilic Mn3O4/CNTA composite electrodes present ideal capacitive behavior with high reversibility. This opens up a new route of utilizing ultra-long CNTAs, based on which a scalable and cost-effective method was developed to fabricate composite electrodes using millimeter-long CNTAs. To improve the performance of the composites, ε-MnO2 nanorods were anodically pulse-electrodeposited within hydrophilic 0.5 mm-thick Mn3O4 decorated CNTAs. The maximum gravimetric capacitance for the MnO2 nanorods/CNTA composite electrode was found to be 185 F/g, and that for ε-MnO2 nanorods was determined to be 221 F/g. After electrodeposition, the area-normalized capacitance and volumetric capacitance values were increased by a factor of 3, and an extremely high area-normalized capacitance of 1.80 F/cm2 was also achieved for the MnO2 nanorods/CNTA composite.
License granted by Xinwei Cui ( on 2010-09-28T22:58:25Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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