Production of boron nitride nanotubes from the reaction of NH₃ with boron and iron powder mixture

Noyan, Selin
Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), which are structurally similar to carbon nanotubes (CNTs), were synthesized in 1995 for the first time. They are made up by folding atom sheets which consist of boron and nitrogen atoms into cylindrical form. After their discovery, BNNTs have been attracting great attention due to their extraordinary mechanical, thermal, electrical, and optical properties. In this study, BNNTs were synthesized from the reaction of ammonia gas with the boron and iron powder mixture in a tubular reactor which was connected to a mass spectrometer for on-line chemical analysis of the reactor effluent stream. The synthesized materials were purified with acid treatment. Chemical analysis results showed that nitrogen and hydrogen gases were present in addition to ammonia gas. XRD results revealed that the solid phases in the synthesized material were hexagonal boron nitride, rhombohedral boron nitride, iron, and boron-iron compounds (FeB49 and Fe3B). Reactions taking place in BNNT synthesis were proposed as the decomposition of ammonia gas which was the only gas phase reaction, the formation of boron-iron compounds from the reaction of boron with iron, and boron nitride formation from the reaction of nitrogen with boron-iron compounds. Agglomerated, hollow, multi-walled nanotubes were synthesized with an outer diameter range of 10-550 nm. Both open and close-ended nanotubes were observed. The interlayer distance between BN sheets was measured about 0.33 nm and this distance indicated the d002 plane of hexagonal boron nitride. BNNTs exhibited Type II isotherms with a Type B hysteresis. A decrease in the surface area of the synthesized BNNTs was observed with an increase in temperature. The highest surface area was 147.6 m2/g. Average pore diameter of BNNTs synthesized at different temperatures was around 38 Å. Deposition rate of boron nitride increased with an increase in temperature. After a certain temperature, deposition rate decreased with temperature due to the sintering effect. The highest deposition rate was observed when BNNTs were synthesized with the B/Fe weight ratio of 15/1 at 1300 °C.


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Citation Formats
S. Noyan, “Production of boron nitride nanotubes from the reaction of NH₃ with boron and iron powder mixture,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2012.