Investigation of new carbon nanostructures resulting from combustion synthesis

A new study published in Diamond and related materials focuses on a new technique that uses rapid combustion to synthesize carbon nanostructures. A simple technique for the rapid and autothermal creation of several forms of nanocarbon, including a 3D graphene-like nanosystem, has been demonstrated using a combustion formulation.

To study: New nanocarbons via simple combustion synthesis in one pot. Image Credit: Mopic / Shutterstock.com

Importance of carbon nanostructures

Research shows that advances in nanotechnology have spurred the development of new materials such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, and fullerenes in recent years.

Carbon nanostructures have been hailed as one of the most intriguing reinforcing materials for improving the characteristics of polymeric substances due to their exceptional structural rigidity, high conductivity, and electromagnetic attributes.

Carbon nanostructures are a diverse range of materials with applications in biomedical and biotechnology, tissue engineered implants, biodetection, and enhanced functional genomics. Due to their unique characteristics and their various potential uses in the automotive, aerospace, architectural and electrical industries, carbon nanocomposites and polymers have gained attention.

Process and limits of the synthesis of carbon nanostructures

Several synthetic techniques have been carefully explored in the rapidly evolving field of nanotechnology. Nanomaterials are currently produced in a variety of ways, all of which are considered difficult and expensive. This encourages people to look for new ways to synthesize them.

The widely used “bottom up” strategy consists of self-assembling structural components to produce new nanoparticles. Thermal activation, ionized synthesis, gas phase condensation, blasting and grinding are just a few of the methods used. Due to labor, time and energy demanding protocols, many of these procedures are neither financially viable nor productive. Accordingly, different approaches should be explored to address the current shortcomings.

Synthesis by combustion

For the establishment of an efficient and time-saving nanotechnology synthesis, solid combustion (CS) synthesis can be used. By proper choice of starting reagents, the self-sustaining reaction between a strong reducing agent and a strong oxidizer can result in the creation of various nanostructures.

Further Reading: Rheology of Graphene and PLA Enhanced by Carbon Nanotubes

It is ecological and beneficial from an energy point of view because it is self-sufficient. In addition, the relatively fast reaction time limits the creation of unwanted phases, allowing time savings and financial gains. The main advantages of this approach are related to its unique qualities. Excellent reaction temperatures (over 3000 K) and pressure changes, difficult to achieve with traditional procedures, and lead to a wide range of high purity materials.

Limits of carbon synthesis

The use of fast and self-sustaining exothermic processes, which make the approach to combustion relatively easy, very efficient and time-saving, makes CS under controlled parameters extremely difficult. This requires continuous and rapid evaluation as even minor differences can render the result unusable.

A sustainable and clean strategy for the rapid fabrication of nanostructures of carbon materials using the CS approach is presented in recently published research.

Efficient use of reagents / materials

Magnesium is a relatively inexpensive, powerful, and easily removable reagent. As a result, it was used as a reducing agent. As oxidizing agents, chemical reagents containing carbon and articles of everyday consumption have been used.

New inexpensive experimental setup

The reaction took place in a highly pressurized stainless steel tank. An agate crusher was used to homogenize a greenish stoichiometric combination of granular reagents (less than 40m), which were then placed in a silicon oven and placed inside a reactor vessel.

The container was securely sealed, emptied, and then filled with Ar to a precise pressure (1.0 and 0.1 MPa). The combustion process was started by a carbon fiber (used as an electric igniter) which was submerged in the green sample.

Experimental results

Depending on the system, the overall reaction time ranged from 1.93 s to> 2.3 s (> 2.3 s, 2.03 s, 2.13 s, 1.93 s for A, B, C and D , respectively). For A, B, C, and D, the greatest burning intensity was recorded at 0.2s, 0.066s, 0.33s, and 1.4s, respectively.

The refined result of phthalic acid combustion (sessions A) was characterized by a perforated petal-shaped multilayer graphene substance that resembled the 3D graphene-based nanocarbon. The combustion of glucose (tests B) resulted in the transformation of the inhomogeneous mixture into nanocrystallites of MgO. The results of burning sucrose were almost identical to burning glucose and resulted in MgO nanoparticles as well as soot production.

Since some MgO nanocrystals were tightly coated with multilayers of graphene during the burning of the sugar, the oxide core could not be degraded during filtration.

In short, carbon-based nanomaterials have been effectively and efficiently synthesized through the use of the autothermal CS process, resulting in the formation of layered nanomaterials with excellent properties. This process opens the way to various future perspectives and new applications for the benefit of man.

The references

Huczk, A. et al., 2022. New nanocarbons via easy-to-burn-to-pot synthesis. Diamond and related materials, Volume 121. 108746. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925963521005094?via%3Dihub

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Kevin A. Perras