Recovery of waste gold for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles supported on radially aligned nanorutile: the growth of carbon nanomaterials
Precious and expensive metals are lost each year through the discarding of old jewellery pieces and mine tailings. In this work, small amounts of gold were recovered by digestion with aqua regia from waste tailings. The recovered gold in the form of HAuCl4 was then used to deposit Au0 onto radially aligned nanorutile (RANR) to form a supported catalyst material. The support material, RANR, was synthesized using the hydrothermal technique whereas the deposition of gold was achieved using the deposition–precipitation with urea method at various loadings. Electron microscopy was used to show that the structure of the support is a sphere formed by multiple nanorods aligned in a radial structure. The Au nanoparticles were observed at the tips of the nanorods. It was confirmed by XRD that the support was indeed a rutile phase of TiO2 and that the Au nanoparticles had a face-centred cubic structure. The various catalysts were then used to synthesize carbon nanomaterials (CNMs) using the chemical vapour deposition technique. A parametric study varying the reaction temperature, duration and carbon source gas flow rate was conducted to study the effects these conditions have on the structural properties of the resulting CNMs. Here, it was found that mainly carbon nanofibers were formed and that the different reaction conditions influenced their graphicity, width, structure and thermal properties.