A systematic calorimetry-based technique was developed to standardize single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) dispersion protocol. Simple calorimetric experiments were performed to benchmark the performance of the ultra-dismembrator. Temperature profiles for the sonication period were utilized to estimate energy input to the system. Energy loss profile was generated for the ultradismembrator in use and a calibration relationship was formulated that could standardize the sonication process. The standardized protocol was used to prepare aqueous SWNT suspensions-sonicating SWNTs in a varied range of input energy (18-100 kJ) in water. SWNT mass fractions suspended for each energy input was accurately measured and the suspended SWNT samples were characterized for morphology, surface potential, cluster size and structure, and chemical functionality using high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), electrophoresis, dynamic and static light scattering (DLS/SLS), and Raman spectroscopy. The study demonstrated that suspended mass of SWNTs increased up to 18 kJ of energy input with no further increase upon continued energy input. The physicochemical properties showed similar trend for energy input. The aggregate cluster size, surface potential behavior, as well as the Raman defect properties plateaued after the initial energy input. The significant changes observed were limited to morphological properties, i.e., shorter length, debundled, and sharp edged SWNTs and fractal cluster formation (lower Df) with increased input energy.
- Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWNTs)