Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, have developed a method to attach nanotubes to the inside of tubing. They can seed and grow carbon nanotubes in 10-ft-long thin steel tubing in under 20 minutes.
The work took us three years to develop and get right, but now we can essentially anchor nanotubes on a tubular wall. No one has ever done anything like this before, says Somenath Mitra, lead researcher and acting chair of the schools Dept. of Chemistry and Environmental Science. We have never been able to anchor the [conventional nanotube] powder to a large surface, nor can we grow the nanotubes in a large device. Typically we could only produce them in minute amounts, if we used the powder substance, he adds.
By catalyzing the surface of the tubing, the researchers now can create nanotubes that adher to the walls and can grow considerably larger amounts of them.