Polymer Science Faculty Research


Growth of carbon nanostructures on carbonized electrospun nanofibers with palladium nanoparticles

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This paper studies the mechanism of the formation of carbon nanostructures on carbon nanofibers with Pd nanoparticles by using different carbon sources. The carbon nanofibers with Pd nanoparticles were produced by carbonizing electrospun polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers including Pd(Ac)2. Such PAN-based carbon nanofibers were then used as substrates to grow hierarchical carbon nanostructures. Toluene, pyridine and chlorobenzine were employed as carbon sources for the carbon nanostructures. With the Pd nanoparticles embedded in the carbonized PAN nanofibers acting as catalysts, molecules of toluene, pyridine or chlorobenzine were decomposed into carbon species which were dissolved into the Pd nanoparticles and consequently grew into straight carbon nanotubes, Y-shaped carbon nanotubes or carbon nano-ribbons on the carbon nanofiber substrates. X-ray diffraction analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were utilized to capture the mechanism of formation of Pd nanoparticles, regular carbon nanotubes, Y-shaped carbon nanotubes and carbon nano-ribbons. It was observed that the Y-shaped carbon nanotubes and carbon nano-ribbons were formed on carbonized PAN nanofibers containing Pd-nanoparticle catalyst, and the carbon sources played a crucial role in the formation of different hierarchical carbon nanostructures.

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