(693c) Spontaneous Dissolution of Ultralong Carbon Nanotubes for Production of Neat CNT Fibers
AIChE Annual Meeting
Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 1:30pm to 1:48pm
We report that chlorosulfonic acid is a true solvent for a wide range of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), including single-walled (SWNTs), double-walled (DWNTs), multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), and CNTs hundreds of micrometers long. The CNTs dissolve as individuals at low concentrations, as determined by cryo-TEM (cryogenic transmission electron microscopy), and form liquid-crystalline phases at high concentrations. The mechanism of dissolution is electrostatic stabilization through reversible protonation of the CNT side walls, as previously established for SWNTs. CNTs with highly defective side walls do not protonate sufficiently and, hence, do not dissolve. The dissolution and liquid-crystallinity of ultralong CNTs are critical advances in the liquid-phase processing of macroscopic CNT-based materials, such as fibers and films.