- Carbon Nanotube Sponge Synonyms:
cnt sponge, carbon nanotube sponge, hollow cnt cylinders, interconnected carbon atoms, carbon nanotubes, sponges, self-assembly, water remediation, oil spill cleanup
- Carbon Nanotube Sponge Description:
a) Carbon nanotube (CNT) sponges are synthesized by chemical vapor deposition, in which nanotubes are self-assembled into a three-dimensionally interconnected framework. The sponges are very light, highly porous, hydrophobic in pristine form, and can be elastically and reversibly deformed into any shape. The sponges can float on water surfaces and absorb large-area spreading oil films (see images), suggesting promising environmental applications.
b) The CNT sponges have new properties that integrate the merits of fragile aerogels with their high surface area (the lowest density solid material known is an aerogel), and conventional soft materials with their robustness and flexibility.
c) Current commercial absorbents for oil spill recovery and industrial use tend to be based on cellulose or polypropylene. These materials can absorb only up to 20 times their own weight and are impractical for large spills, where dispersants are used. Dispersants allow the oil to become diluted, but it remains in the water. Other materials based on porous oxide-based materials or other polymers can absorb up to twice as much pollutant per weight, but generally need to be heated to remove the organic material. High-temperature heating is not practical on small scales or on ships, and a clear advantage of a squeezable sponge is that the oil can be readily recovered and reused. For other applications including solvent cleanup, the sponges can be heated to remove the pollutant, without affecting the properties of the sponges.
d) At the same time, they love to absorb oil on their surface. As the sponges are over 99% porous or empty, they float on water and there is a lot of room for oil to be absorbed, leading to the extremely high capacity for retention for example, 143 times the sponge's weight for diesel oil and 175 for ethylene glycol
- Carbon Nanotube Sponge Physical Properties:
a) CNT sponges are made from interconnected carbon nanotubes; tiny, strong and hollow cylinders of interconnected carbon atoms that are about 30-50 nanometres across and tens to hundreds of micrometers long, and they are over 99% porous (which leaves a lot of space to absorb oil and solvents).
b) Since carbon nanotubes are hydrophobic, there’s no modification required to make them not absorb water.
- Carbon Nanotube Sponge Applications:
a) Cleaning up toxic spills has always been a problem. It’s hard, and it’s expensive, and you have to be thorough. It is made of carbon nanotubes – regular carbon atoms arranged in a specific cylindrical shape – and can absorb organic pollutants from the surface of water (such as oil and solvents) up to 180x its weight without absorbing water. And once its full of toxic liquids, the best part is that you can just wring it and start again.
b) Potential applications reach beyond oil spill recovery. According to Anyuan Cao in Beijing, “the nanotube sponges can be used as filters, membranes, or absorbents to remove bacteria or contaminants from liquid or gas. They could also be used as noise-absorption layers in houses, and soldiers might benefit by using these sponges in impact energy absorbing components while adding little weight. Thermally insulated clothing is also possible.”
- Carbon Nanotube Sponge Primary Information Source for READE:
a) "Anyuan Cao et al., Advanced Materials ; DOI: 10.1002/adma.200902986"
b) Product page uploaded to the READE SuperSite on 14 JAN 2012
- Carbon Nanotube Sponge Commercial Availability:
a) CNT sponges were invented by scientists from the Peking University and Tsinghua University in Beijing (Xuchun Gui, Jinquan Wei, Kunlin Wang, Anyuan Cao, Hongwei Zhu, Yi Jia, Qinke Shu, and Dehai Wu)
b) Large-scale production is currently being implemented.
c) READE will distribute this product in the near future and will be happy to inform you when CNT sponges are available for sale.
d) Please send READE a quotation request with your complete contact information and we will contact you soonest.