Carbon Nanofibers and Nanotubes as Novel Metal Catalyst Supports


Mark A. Keane Department of Chemistry and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky

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The association of carbon nanofibers and nanotubes with heterogeneous catalysis, the focus of this article, is twofold. The growth of ordered carbon from metal catalysts has emerged as an economically viable and selective route to a high value graphitic product. The critical catalyst characteristics that have been shown to impact on the dimensions and structure of the carbon product are discussed herein with an evaluation of the growth mechanisms that have been proposed in the literature. The established noncatalytic synthesis methodologies are described and the advantages inherent in a move to a catalytic approach are demonstrated, taking ethylene decomposition over nickel as a model system. The second catalysis/carbon connection deals with the application of nanoscale carbon substrates to disperse a catalytically active metal phase, i.e., preparation of supported metal catalysts. The advantages of carbon nanofibers/nanotubes as metal supports are discussed with an overview of recent literature that describes the catalytic application of metals anchored to structured carbon substrates.