A stainless-steel mesh loaded with nickel catalyst was produced and used for the pyrolysis–catalysis of waste high-density polyethylene with the aim of producing high-value carbon products, including carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The catalysis temperature and plastic-to-catalyst ratio were investigated to determine the influence on the formation of different types of carbon deposited on the nickel–stainless-steel mesh catalyst. Increasing temperature from 700 to 900°C resulted in an increase in the carbon deposited on the nickel-loaded stainless-steel mesh catalyst from 32.5 to 38.0 wt%. The increase in sample-to-catalyst ratio reduced the amount of carbon deposited on the mesh catalyst in terms of g carbon g−1 plastic. The carbons were found to be largely composed of filamentous carbons, with negligible disordered (amorphous) carbons. Transmission electron microscopy analysis of the filamentous carbons revealed them to be composed of a large proportion (estimated at ∼40%) multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The optimum process conditions for CNT production, in terms of yield and graphitic nature, determined by Raman spectroscopy, was catalysis temperature of 800°C and plastic-to-catalyst ratio of 1:2, where a mass of 334 mg of filamentous/MWCNTs g−1 plastic was produced.
- carbon nano tubes