Control of porosity and pore size of metal reinforced carbon nanotube membranes

Ludovic Dumee, Leonora Velleman, Kallista Sears, Matthew Hill, Jurg Schutz, Niall Finn, Mikel Duke, Stephen Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Membranes are crucial in modern industry and both new technologies and materials need to be designed to achieve higher selectivity and performance. Exotic materials such as nanoparticles offer promising perspectives, and combining both their very high specific surface area and the possibility to incorporate them into macrostructures have already shown to substantially increase the membrane performance. In this paper we report on the fabrication and engineering of metal-reinforced carbon nanotube (CNT) Bucky-Paper (BP) composites with tuneable porosity and surface pore size. A BP is an entangled mesh non-woven like structure of nanotubes. Pure CNT BPs present both very high porosity (>90%) and specific surface area (>400 m2/g). Furthermore, their pore size is generally between 20-50 nm making them promising candidates for various membrane and separation applications. Both electro-plating and electroless plating techniques were used to plate different series of BPs and offered various degrees of success. Here we will report mainly on electroless plated gold/CNT composites. The benefit of this method resides in the versatility of the plating and the opportunity to tune both average pore size and porosity of the structure with a high degree of reproducibility. The CNT BPs were first oxidized by short UV/O3 treatment, followed by successive immersion in different plating solutions. The morphology and properties of these samples has been investigated and their performance in air permeation and gas adsorption will be reported.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)25-36
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2010


  • Carbon nanotube
  • Electroless plating
  • Gold
  • Nano-composite
  • Porosity


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