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Volume 77, Issue 7, July 2006
77(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2209972View Description Hide Description
High temperatures inside the plasma of a carbon arc generate strong buoyancy driven convection which has an effect on the growth and morphology of the single-walled carbon nanotubes(SWNTs). To study the effect of buoyancy on the arc process, a miniature carbon arc apparatus was designed and developed to synthesize SWNTs in a microgravity environment substantially free from buoyant convective flows. An arc reactor was operated in the 2.2 and drop towers at the NASA Glenn Research Center. The apparatus employed a diameter anode and was powered by a portable battery pack capable of providing in excess of at to the arc for the duration of a drop. However, the principal result is that no dramatic difference in sample yield or composition was noted between normal gravity and 2.2 and long microgravity runs. Much longer duration microgravity time is required for SWNT’s growth such as the zero-aircraft, but more likely will need to be performed on the international space station or an orbiting spacecraft.