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CNT-NUS Research

1. Project Title: Advanced Energy Devices Using Carbon Nanotube Aerogels.

-        Developing advanced aerogels using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) having controlled morphology through manufacturing condition optimization. The developed CNT aerogels can be used in several applications such as thermal insulator, energy storage, wasted water and air pollution treatment. The inexpensive manufacturing method has the advantage of being simple to carry out. Furthermore, it is carried out in an aqueous medium and, in general, does not involve rejects which are subject to specific treatments, which makes it a process which can be used on an industrial scale.

-        Also developing advanced energy devices in terms of supercapacitors and fuel cells using the developed CNT aerogels. In fuel cell vehicles, ultracapacitors have demonstrated a higher recovery of energy from braking than batteries, are considerably lighter, have a longer economic life, and are more environmentally friendly in their manufacture and disposal. When paired with fuel cells in stop-and-go mobility applications, such as forklifts, ultracapacitors provide burst power for lifting and acceleration and enable regenerative braking; in backup power applications [ranging from hospitals to office buildings, factories, and homes], they provide instantly available short-term bridge power. In many applications they buffer power demand peaks, allowing our scalable fuel cell systems to be optimized for size and low cost.

2. Project Title: Biodegradable, Flexible, and Ultrastrong Cellulose Aerogels from Paper Waste for Replacing Bubble Wrap and Cleaning Oil Spills. 

   The overall goals of this research are to enhance the utilization of paper waste and help minimize environmental pollution associated with it; and converting the paper waste into other great potential applications such as 100% biodegradable packing materials to replace popular plastic bubble wrap. We will focus on: (i) New and advanced biodegradable cellulose aerogels (low cost, super-strong, flexible, absorbent, magnetic sponge) are developed and compared from 3 types of paper waste (white office paper, corrugated cartons and newspapers); (ii) Solving environmental issues (biodegradability, disposable means, storage and fire hazards) of the plastic bubble wrap and paper waste (solid waste and landfilling costs); and (iii) Developed cellulose aerogels can play variety of roles in materials science such as for greener buildings (effective insulation, light weight and fire retardation) and for microfluidic devices like fuel cells and small actuators.

3. Project Title: Superstrong Carbon Nanotube Yarns from Nanotube Aerogels.

    A simple and inexpensive way to manufacture continuous kilometer long CNTF filaments in bulk will be developed. More importantly, it can be scaled up for industrial production. The CNTF filaments, spun directly and continuously from an aerogel formed in the gas phase inside the furnace, combine high strength  (in the GPa range) and high stiffness (axial elastic modulus, around 50 GPa and 120 GPa before and after post treatments respectively) with high energy to breakage (toughness) - considerably greater than that of any commercial high-strength fibers (20-100 J/g depending on the treatment used). CNT filaments of different orientation, fiber density and mechanical properties can be achieved by drawing the aerogel at various rates. The CNTFs will then be made into CNTF yarns – paving the way for flexible materials, multi-strand threads and threads made from a mix of materials. Comparisons of mechanical properties will made between such CNTF yarns and yarns twisted from filaments of other common ballistic materials such as aramids and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).