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On the Use of Carbon Cables from Plastic Solvent Combinations of Polystyrene and Toluene in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis
Nanomaterials, Volume: 12, Issue: 1, Start page: 9
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For every three people on the planet, there are approximately two Tonnes (Te) of plastic waste. We show that carbon recovery from polystyrene (PS) plastic is enhanced by the coaddition of solvents to grow carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by liquid injection chemical vapour deposition. Polystyrene was loaded...
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For every three people on the planet, there are approximately two Tonnes (Te) of plastic waste. We show that carbon recovery from polystyrene (PS) plastic is enhanced by the coaddition of solvents to grow carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by liquid injection chemical vapour deposition. Polystyrene was loaded up to 4 wt% in toluene and heated to 780 °C in the presence of a ferrocene catalyst and a hydrogen/argon carrier gas at a 1:19 ratio. High resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Raman spectroscopy were used to identify multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The PS addition in the range from 0 to 4 wt% showed improved quality and CNT homogeneity; Raman "Graphitic/Defective" (G/D) values increased from 1.9 to 2.3; mean CNT diameters increased from 43.0 to 49.2 nm; and maximum CNT yield increased from 11.37% to 14.31%. Since both the CNT diameters and the percentage yield increased following the addition of polystyrene, we conclude that carbon from PS contributes to the carbon within the MWCNTs. The electrical contact resistance of acid-washed Bucky papers produced from each loading ranged from 2.2 to 4.4 Ohm, with no direct correlation to PS loading. Due to this narrow range, materials with different loadings were mixed to create the six wires of an Ethernet cable and tested using iPerf3; the cable achieved up- and down- link speeds of ~99.5 Mbps, i.e., comparable to Cu wire with the same dimensions (~99.5 Mbps). The lifecycle assessment (LCA) of CNT wire production was compared to copper wire production for a use case in a Boeing 747-400 over the lifespan of the aircraft. Due to their lightweight nature, the CNT wires decreased the CO footprint by 21 kTonnes (kTe) over the aircraft's lifespan.
carbon nanotube; plastic; chemical recycling; life cycle assessment; ethernet; circular economy; data transmission; carbon footprint
College of Engineering
A.O.W. is funded through Sêr Cymru II Fellowship by the Welsh Government and the
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A.O.W. and T.Y. acknowledges funding from Welsh
Government Circular Economy Capital Fund FY 2020-21. A.H. was funded by the Copper Nanotube
Ultraconductive (UCC) wire project funded by Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Advanced
Engineering and Materials (NRN) with contributions from E-Corp. G.S. received funding from
Swansea Employability Academy (SEA) via the summer placements scheme. Thanks to funding by
Welsh Government for Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS2), part funded by the Welsh
Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.
L.P. and I.T. funded through KESS2 and TRIMTABS Ltd. J.S.-C. funded through KESS2 and Salts
Healthcare Ltd. M.L.D and R.C. are grateful for the financial support of the EPSRC (EP/S001336/1)
and for funding LCA software and database licenses. We would like to acknowledge the Life Cycle
Analysis for Circular Economy (LCA4CE) Lab. J.S.-C. & V.S.G. funded thanks to Salts Healthcare Ltd.
A.A. funded in part by the Swansea University Texas Strategic Partnership. The authors acknowledge
access to the TEM provided by the Swansea University AIM Facility, funded in part by the EPSRC
(EP/M028267/1), the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government (80708) and the Welsh Government’s Sêr Cymru program