Carbon nanotubes play an important role in nanotechnology due to the influence in different areas, such as engineering, chemistry, biology, medicine, electronics, and materials science. The main objective of this article is to give a general idea about carbon nanotubes properties and their general applications, especially in electrochemistry.
The concept of nanotechnology is still somewhat confusing because, in current reports, it is known as nanoscience. Nanoscience is responsible for the study of very small materials ranging from a few hundred to a few nanometers. In order to make out the potential of technology, that is the physical properties and chemical substances of the changes at the nanoscale. This is an effect of the quantum theory.
The carbon nanotubes were prepared for the first time by Sumio Iijima. For many years, he had studied the atomic-scale structure of carbon fibers. When in 1990 researchers from Heidelberg, in Germany, and Tucson, in the United States, reported a method to obtain large quantities of buckminsterfullerene or C60, Iijima felt that his research carried out over a decade made sense.
He ran an experiment to verify the formation of that carbon form discovered by Harry Kroto (the University of Sussex, in England) and by Richard Smaley (the University of Texas, in the United States) in 1985.
Thus, passing electric sparks through two graphite rods, Iijima vaporized them, obtaining carbon condensed in a soot-like mass, where he expected to find the C60 What he found when he placed that soot under the microscope was not C60, but small carbon tubes a few nanometers wide.
These nanotubes were hollow, but they had many layers: tubes inside tubes, like Russian dolls, nested one on another, with their final parts sealed with conical tops. From the moment of their discovery, they have been used in an academic way in different studies and since 2005 they began to study for industrial applications.
What Are Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes are an all otropic form of carbon, such as diamond, graphite or fullerenes; They consist of hexagonal carbon networks curved and closed, forming nanometric carbon tubes. Its structure can be considered to come from a sheet of graphite rolled on itself (5). Depending on the degree of winding and the way in which the original sheet is formed, the result can lead to nanotubes of different diameter and internal geometry. They are light, hollow and porous systems that have high mechanical strength, and therefore interesting for the structural reinforcement of materials and the formation of low weight composite materials, high tensile strength and enormous elasticity. The nanotubes have a diameter of a few nanometers and, however, its length can reach up to one millimeter, so it has a tremendously high radio-to-date ratio. Carbon nanotubes are the strongest fibers known. A single perfect nanotube is 10 to 100 times stronger than steel per unit weight and has very interesting electrical properties, driving the electric current hundreds of times more efficiently than traditional copper cables (6). There are two ways in which carbon nanotubes are found (figure 1), which are single wall nanotubes (NTCPS) and multiple wall nanotubes (NTCPM).