Flow field-flow fractionation (flow FFF), a separation technique for particles and macromolecules, has been used to separate carbon nanotubes (CNT). The carbon nanotube ropes that were purified from a raw carbon nanotube mixture by acidic reflux followed by cross-flow filtration using a hollow fiber module were cut into shorter lengths by sonication under a concentrated acid mixture. The cut carbon nanotubes were separated by using a modified flow FFF channel system, frit inlet asymmetrical flow FFF (FI AFIFFF) channel, which was useful in the continuous flow operation during injection and separation. Carbon nanotubes, before and after the cutting process, were clearly distinguished by their retention profiles. The narrow volume fractions of CNT collected during flow FFF runs were confirmed by field emission scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Experimentally, it was found that retention of carbon nanotubes in flow FFF was dependent on the use of surfactant for CNT dispersion and for the carrier solution in flow FFF. In this work, the use of flow FFF for the size differentiation of carbon nanotubes in the process of preparation or purification was demonstrated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Filtration and Separation