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Issue 36, 2017
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A surface-engineered tape-casting fabrication technique toward the commercialisation of freestanding carbon nanotube sheets

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Abstract

Various applications of freestanding multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) sheets (also known as buckypapers), although very promising in the laboratory, failed to meet the technology readiness level for commercialisation due to the use of non-scalable fabrication methods. Herein, we developed a surface-engineered tape-casting (SETC) technique which is a facile and scalable preparation method to fabricate freestanding, flexible and foldable buckypapers using tape-casting on a surface-engineered conveyor-belt without a mould. The SETC technique has several advantages: it can be implemented in both batch and roll-to-roll processing; has a high throughput; produces a large area with tuneable length, thickness, density and composition; and produces sheets from any commercially available carbon nanotubes with superior properties. The SETC technique solves the main challenge of tape-casting which is the separation of the dried MWCNT sheet from the supporting-substrate. This challenge originates from the fact that MWCNTs always tend to stick to the substrate which makes it almost impossible to peel as a perfect sheet. We found out that easy peeling of the buckypaper from a substrate can be achieved if the following conditions are satisfied: (a) enough difference between MWCNTs and substrate surface energies and (b) the micro-pyramid pore structure of the substrate morphology. Moreover, the SETC technique was able to preserve the MWCNT alignment within the sheet. We demonstrated the application of a SETC-made MWCNT–LiFePO4 buckypaper composite in lithium-ion batteries with an excellent specific capacity of 86.79 mA h gLiFePO4−1 (61.20 mA h gMWCNT+LiFePO4−1) at a high discharge rate of 1905 mA gLiFePO4−1 (1270 mA gMWCNT+LiFePO4−1) for 1000 cycles.

Graphical abstract: A surface-engineered tape-casting fabrication technique toward the commercialisation of freestanding carbon nanotube sheets

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jun 2017, accepted on 16 Aug 2017 and first published on 16 Aug 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04999D
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017,5, 19255-19266
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    A surface-engineered tape-casting fabrication technique toward the commercialisation of freestanding carbon nanotube sheets

    R. A. Susantyoko, Z. Karam, S. Alkhoori, I. Mustafa, C. Wu and S. Almheiri, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 19255
    DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04999D

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