The patent's assignee is Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Nanostructures are objects that have physical dimensions between those of sub-atomic-scale (less than one Angstrom-sized) structures and microscopic-scale (greater than one tenth micrometer-sized) structures. Nanostructures are said to have nano-scale features. '
"Nanostructures may be formed from carbon, silicon, boron, various metal and metalloid elements, various compounds, alloys and oxides of those elements, ceramics, various organic materials including monomers and polymers, and potentially any other material. Nanostructures have potential use in various physical, chemical, mechanical, electronic and biological applications. Nanomaterials are collections of nanostructures. The formation, collection, and assembly of nanomaterials generally involve difficult and expensive processes.
"It is often desirable to manufacture composite materials that comprise a metal or ceramic as the 'matrix' (or 'bulk') material with embedded nanostructures as the 'filler' (or 'fiber') material. One difficulty in manufacturing such materials is that nanostructures tend to agglomerate and are difficult to disperse evenly in a composite material. Another difficulty in manufacturing composite materials having embedded microstructures is that it is sometimes difficult to achieve sufficient bond strength between the matrix material and the filler material. What are needed therefore are raw materials and methods for manufacturing composite materials with embedded nanostructures."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In one embodiment the present disclosure provides an anchored nanostructure material that includes a plurality of nanoparticles disposed adjacent a surface of a support material, wherein at least some of the nanoparticles have a nanostructure attached thereto. In some embodiments the support material comprises powder particles having a diameter that ranges from about 0.5 microns to about 60 microns. In some embodiments the support material comprises powder particles having a diameter that ranges from about 10 nanometers to about 100 microns. In various embodiments the support material may comprise a metal, NiAl, Ni, Al, a ceramic, silicon dioxide, or a cermet. In some embodiments the nanoparticles comprise iron. In some embodiments the nanostructures comprise carbon.
"Also provided herein is a method of producing an anchored nanostructure material. Typically the method includes a step of heating a nano-catalyst under a protective atmosphere to a temperature ranging from about 450.degree. C. to about 1500.degree. C., and a step of contacting the heated nano-catalyst with an organic vapor to affix carbon nanostructures to the nano-catalyst and form the anchored nanostructure material. In some embodiments the step of contacting the heated nano-catalyst with an organic vapor includes flowing the organic vapor proximal to the heated nano-catalyst at a rate ranging from about 100 cc/minute to about 10 L/minute. In some embodiments the step of contacting the heated nano-catalyst with an organic vapor includes exposing the heated nano-catalyst to the organic vapor at a process pressure of ranging from about 1 torr to about 1000 torr. Some embodiments include further steps of cooling the anchored nanostructure material under a protective atmosphere to a temperature at which the anchored nanostructure material does not significantly oxidize in an ambient atmosphere, and the step of discontinuing the protective atmosphere and providing access to the anchored nanostructure material in the ambient atmosphere.
"Further provided is a method of producing anchored carbon nanotubes that includes the following steps. One step is typically etching a substrate comprising a metal selected from the group consisting of scandium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, and zinc with an etchant selected from the group consisting of an aqueous solution of an aluminum salt, a dilute acid, and a combination thereof, wherein metal ions from the substrate form in the etchant. A further step is typically drying the substrate in the presence of the etchant, wherein nano-size deposits comprising the metal ions are deposited adjacent the surface of the substrate. Another step is typically exposing the metal ions to hydrogen to reduce the metal ions and produce nano-catalysts, and a further step is typically exposing the nano-catalysts to hydrogen and an organic gas to grow carbon nanotubes on the nano-catalysts, forming the anchored carbon nanotubes. In some of these methods the substrate includes nickel and the etchant is selected from the group consisting of an aqueous solution of a chloride salt of aluminum, dilute hydrochloric acid, and combinations thereof. In some of these methods the substrate includes nickel and the etchant is selected from the group consisting of an aqueous solution of a nitrate salt of aluminum salt, dilute nitric acid, and combinations thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"Various advantages are apparent by reference to the detailed description in conjunction with the figures, wherein elements are not to scale so as to more clearly show the details, wherein like reference numbers indicate like elements throughout the several views, and wherein:
"FIG. 1 is a somewhat schematic illustration of a method of fabricating nano-catalysts.
"FIG. 2 is a somewhat schematic illustration of a method of fabricating nano-catalysts.
"FIG. 3 is a somewhat schematic illustration of a method of fabrication nano-catalysts.
"FIG. 4 is a somewhat schematic illustration of a method of fabricating nano-catalysts.
"FIG. 5 is a photomicrograph of nano-catalysts.
"FIGS. 6A and 6B are photomicrographs of nano-catalysts.
"FIGS. 7A and 7B are photomicrographs that each depicts a portion of single anchored nanostructure formation.
"FIG. 8A is a schematic diagram of a fabrication system for producing anchored nanostructure materials.
"FIG. 8B is a schematic diagram of a simplified fabrication system for producing anchored nanostructure materials."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Seals, Roland D.; Menchhofer, Paul A.; Howe, Jane Y.; Wang, Wei. Anchored Nanostructure Materials and Method of Fabrication. Filed
Keywords for this news article include: Nickel, Aluminum, Fullerenes, Light Metals, Nanomaterial, Nanoparticle, Nanostructural, Nanostructures, Nanotechnology, Carbon Nanotubes, Transition Elements, Emerging Technologies, Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services
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