Synthesizing carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers over supported-nickel oxide catalysts via catalytic decomposition of methane

Siang Piao Chai, Sharif Hussein Sharif Zein, Abdul Rahman Mohamed

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Supported-NiO catalysts were tested in the synthesis of carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers by catalytic decomposition of methane at 550 °C and 700 °C. Catalytic activity was characterized by the conversion levels of methane and the amount of carbons accumulated on the catalysts. Selectivity of carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofiber formation were determined using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The catalytic performance of the supported-NiO catalysts and the types of filamentous carbons produced were discussed based on the X-ray diffraction (XRD) results and the TEM images of the used catalysts. The experimental results show that the catalytic performance of supported-NiO catalysts decreased in the order of NiO/SiO2 > NiO/HZSM-5 > NiO/CeO2 > NiO/Al2O3 at both reaction temperatures. The structures of the carbons formed by decomposition of methane were dependent on the types of catalyst supports used and the reaction temperatures conducted. It was found that Al2O3 was crucial to the dispersion of smaller NiO crystallites, which gave rise to the formation of multi-walled carbon nanotubes at the reaction temperature of 550 °C and a mixture of multi-walled carbon nanotubes and single-walled carbon nanotubes at 700 °C. Other than NiO/Al2O3 catalyst, all the tested supported-NiO catalysts formed carbon nanofibers at 550 °C and multi-walled carbon nanotubes at 700 °C except for NiO/HZSM-5 catalyst, which grew carbon nanofibers at both 550 °C and 700 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1656-1664
Number of pages9
JournalDiamond and Related Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon nanofibers
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Catalytic process
  • Electron microscopy

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