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

  • Author / Creator
    Cui, Xinwei
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Chen, Weixing (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Yang, Qiaoqin (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan)
    • Mitlin, Dave (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Wang, Xiaodong (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
    • Li, Dongyang (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Ivey, Douglas (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)