Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Physics

First Advisor

MIGONE, ALDO

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF DINESH SINGH RAWAT, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in APPLIED PHYSICS, presented on July 6 2009, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: STUDY OF GAS ADSORPTION ON AS-PRODUCED AND MODIFIED CARBON NANOTUBES MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Aldo D. Migone Volumetric adsorption isotherm measurements were used to study the adsorption characteristics of Ethane (C2H6) and Butane (C4H10) on as-produced single-walled carbon nanotubes. The binding energy of the adsorbed alkane molecule was found to increase with increasing carbon chain length. Two adsorption substeps were obtained for each alkane molecule. However, the size of the high pressure substep was found to be gradually smearing with the increase in size of the adsorbed molecule. This phenomenon is interpreted as size entropy effect for linear molecules. This interpretation was also verified by determining the specific surface area of the substrate using linear molecules of different sizes. Kinetics measurements of alkane adsorption on SWNTs were also conducted and their dependence on the molecular length was determined. Similar adsorption measurements were performed for Argon (Ar) on as-produced single-walled carbon nanotubes and nanotubes that were structurally modified using acid treatment. Enhancement of the sorptive capacity and the presence of two distinct kinetics of gas adsorption verified partial opening of single walled carbon nanotubes as a result of chemical treatment. Mutiwalled carbon nanotubes were exposed to oxygen plasma treatment for varying time periods. Afterwards, adsorption measurements of Methane (CH4) were conducted on untreated and oxygen plasma treated tubes. The presence of an additional substep, after exposing multiwalled carbon nanotubes to oxygen plasma for varying time periods, suggested progressive cleaning of nanotube surface.

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