Old newspapers can be used to grow carbon nanotubes :

Newspapers provide a green, economical way to produce carbon nanotubes. Newspapers can be used as a low cost, eco-friendly material on which to grow Single walled carbon nanotubes on a large scale.

Carbon nanotubes are tiny molecules with incredible physical properties that can be used in a huge range of things, such as conductive films for touchscreen displays, flexible electronics, fabrics that create energy and antennas for 5G networks.

The researcher's team discovered that the large surface area of newspapers provided an unlikely but ideal way to chemically grow carbon nanotubes. Researchers said, 

"Newspapers have the benefit of being used in a roll-to-roll process in a stacked form making it an ideal candidate as a low- cost stackable 2D surface to grow carbon nanotubes."

However, not all newspapers are equally good, only newspapers produced with sizing made from kaolin, which is China clay, resulted in carbon nanotube growth.

"Many substances including talc, calcium carbonate and titanium dioxide can be used in sizing in papers which act as a filler to help with their levels of absorption and wear. However, it was observed that kaolin sizing, and not calcium carbonate sizing, showed how the growth catalyst, which in case of iron, is affected by the chemical nature of the substrate.”

In this research, "It has been found that a continuous flow system that dramatically reduces the cost of both substrate and post synthesis process could impact on the future mass manufacture of Single walled carbon nanotubes."


Kavyashree B R

Lecturer in Chemistry Department