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Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Apr 1;48(7):4048-55. doi: 10.1021/es404646e. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Nanosized carbon black combined with Ni2O3 as "universal" catalysts for synergistically catalyzing carbonization of polyolefin wastes to synthesize carbon nanotubes and application for supercapacitors.

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State Key Laboratory of Polymer Physics and Chemistry, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry , Changchun, Jilin 130022, China.


The catalytic carbonization of polyolefin materials to synthesize carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is a promising strategy for the processing and recycling of plastic wastes, but this approach is generally limited due to the selectivity of catalysts and the difficulties in separating the polyolefin mixture. In this study, the influence of nanosized carbon black (CB) and Ni2O3 as a novel combined catalyst system on catalyzing carbonization of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS) and their blends was investigated. We showed that this combination was efficient to promote the carbonization of these polymers to produce CNTs with high yields and of good quality. Catalytic pyrolysis and model carbonization experiments indicated that the carbonization mechanism was attributed to the synergistic effect of the combined catalysts rendered by CB and Ni2O3: CB catalyzed the degradation of PP, PE, and PS to selectively produce more aromatic compounds, which were subsequently dehydrogenated and reassembled into CNTs via the catalytic action of CB together with Ni particles. Moreover, the performance of the synthesized CNTs as the electrode of supercapacitor was investigated. The supercapacitor displayed a high specific capacitance as compared to supercapacitors using commercial CNTs and CB. This difference was attributed to the relatively larger specific surface areas of our synthetic CNTs and their more oxygen-containing groups.

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