Back to Blog

TYPES OF CARBON NANOTUBES AND THEIR APPLICATIONS

Carbon is the most prevalent element in not only our universe, but it also forms the basis of life forms on earth. Carbon is thus essential to man since the very beginning, in its varied ways. From our fuel to our food, carbon is necessary for us to survive and prosper. One of the most useful recently discovered forms of carbon are carbon nanotubes.

Also known as ‘CNTs,’ this is an allotropic form of carbon which is naturally in a microscopic cylindrical structure. Today, these studies have revealed amazing and incredible properties of these carbon allotropes.

Besides, two types of carbon nanotubes can be synthesized. Each class has its specific qualities which used in numerous industries.

Types of Carbon Nanotubes

1. Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube

Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube (SWCNT) is a cylinder formed with only one layer (wall) of carbon molecules. Commonly, these have fabricated in diameters ranging from 0.4 to 2 mm. The diameters of SWCNTs determined by the range of temperature at which they synthesized. Increasing temperature results in larger-sized (wider) SWCNTs have incorporated.

The structure of SWCNTs may vary and may either be zigzag, helical, armchair or chiral arrangement. The surface area of SWCNTs is also considerably higher, at 1300 m²/g, which makes it ideal for nano-robotics and future of medicine administering.

2. Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube

On the other hand, Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs), differ with SWCNTs by the number of cylindrical walls they have. In MWCNTs, the carbon molecules form multiple concentric walls of consequentially increasing diameters around one another. Although there are numerous walls in MWCNTs, each wall is composed of an atom-thick structure only.

Properties of Carbon Nanotubes

These are the intrinsic properties of carbon nanotubes – single walled and multi-walled – which makes them excellent prospects in numerous industries.

  • It is ideal conductors of electrical energy
  • Higher tensile strength
  • Extraordinarily flexible and elastic
  • It is excellent conductors of thermal energy
  • High aspect ratio
  • Excellent electron field emitters
  • Lower thermal expansion coefficient

Applications of Types of Carbon Nanotubes

These are the various applications in which single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are valuable in different industries:

Applications of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWCNTs)

These are the various applications in which single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are useful in different industries:

  • As additives in the polymer (plastics) for increased strength and electrical conductivity at the same time
  • As catalysts in several chemical reactions for better-controlled reactions and best results
  • As emitters of electron field, perfect for cathode ray lighting devices
  • As a more efficient material for flat panel displays
  • As gas-discharging tubes in telecom networks
  • For electromagnetic absorption and shielding
  • For ideal energy conversion
  • As replacements for conventional lithium-battery anodes
  • For storing hydrogen more efficiently
  • As nanotube composites, made by coating or filling
  • As nano-probes, for EFM, STM, AFM and medicinal drug administering
  • As nano-electrodes
  • As parts of advanced sensors
  • For reinforcing composites
  • As super-capacitors

Applications of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs)

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are strong, have better electrical and thermal conducting capacities, and thus find broader potential in the following ways:

  • The use of MWCNTs in batteries can double storage power.
  • In solar cells, as MWCNTs-based solar cells have 100-micrometer high towers, that absorb remarkably more sunlight comparatively, thus ensuring significantly higher power generation.
  • In transistors, where the size could be remarkably decreased even further, resulting in more compact and micro versions of electronics – nano-electronics.
  • For flat panel displays, as a global electronics brand, Samsung, has already fabricated a field emission display with MWCNT stripes on the cathode, and phosphor-coated ITO stripes on the anode.
  • In case of better energy storage, MWCNTs are more powerful electrochemical capacitors as compared to other forms of carbon.

With these and many other such potential applications, the types of carbon nanotubes are finding widespread use in a variety of industries all around the world.

Share this post

Back to Blog