SEM images (a)–(d) at different magnifications of a sample SWCNH/TiO2 on platinum-coated glass


The use of carbon nanohorns as a modifying filler in many matrixes or as template for oxides deposition are studied with the goal of creating nanocomposites with enhanced properties.

Polymer matrix

SWCNT were used in polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and rubber matrixes to enhance mechanical properties (i.e. obtaining highest strain to fracture in tensile test), and studied in epoxy matrix for their capability in distributing stresses. In particular, nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) composites with single-wall carbon nanohorns showed higher tensile strength and strain resistance, indicating that nanohorn have much superior reinforcement effects in respect of common carbon black.

SWCNH and oxides

A novel composite of SnO2 and single-walled carbon nanohorns has been synthesized via a simple wet chemical method where SnO2 nanoparticles (2–3 nm) were homogeneously distributed on the surface of spherical SWCNHs: as an anode material for lithium ion batteries, this SnO2/SWCNHs composite shows superior electrochemical performance with high capacity, excellent cyclic stability and good rate performance.

Titanium dioxide nanopetals, was obtained through two sequential vapour techniques, metal-organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) and magnetron sputtering on a single wall carbon nanohorn (SWCNH) bed, resulting in a synergistic effect. The photocatalytic degradation of phenol under UV light irradiation demonstrated that this novel material exhibited a significant increase of photoactivity

Metallic matrix

Advanced classified studies demonstrated extremely interesting mechanical properties of Al and Mg alloys added with carbon nanotubes and/or single wall carbon nanohorns. The potential applications are mainly in the field of automotive, where lighter and stronger materials are of paramount interest.

 Other composites

Conductive and mesoporous single-wall carbon nanohorn/resorcinol-formaldehyde aerogel composites were fabricated by embedding organic resorcinol-formaldehyde aerogels with single-wall carbon nanohorns. It was demonstrated that these composites have important properties, such as controllable nanoporosity and high electrical conductivity in the range of 10-4 S m-1, which enables many potential applications.

Single-walled carbon nanohorns (SWCNHs) hybridized with palladium (Pd) nanoparticles were synthesized by a single-step arc method. In the arc zone, carbon and Pd were vaporized simultaneously, leading to the formation of hybrid material of SWCNHs and Pd nanoparticles due to effective quenching. Pd nanoparticles were found to be embedded inside SWCNH aggregates. SWCNHs hybridized with dispersed Pd nanoparticles exhibited strong anti-oxidation resistance with a highly graphitic structure.

Recently, studies of SWCNH composites in varnishes as microwave absorbing materials for stealth technologies (8-24 GHz) were briefly reported and fabrics that allow selected microwave frequencies to pass through, called frequency selective fabric composites (FSFCs), were fabricated by weaving carbon fibers, containing nanotubes and nanohorns, and dielectric fibers in periodic patterns.

Electrostatic charging can be avoided with conductive carbon composites: a recent patent reports timepiece parts (gears, rotors, and wheel trains) having composite substrates. The base resin can be any resin, from polystyrene to polyetherimide and carbon filler can be carbon nanotubes or carbon nanohorns.


References & Examples

Manufacturing and physico-mechanical characterization of carbon nanohorns/polyacrylonitrile nanocomposites -Journal of Materials Science, (2011) 46 (17), pp. 5680-5689.

Preparation and mechanical properties of rubber composites reinforced with carbon nanohorns - Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 10 (6), pp. 3810-3814.

Stress distribution on a single-walled carbon nanohorn embedded in an epoxy matrix nanocomposite under axial force - Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience, 7 (6), pp. 1035-1041.

A nanocomposite of SnO2 and single-walled carbon nanohorns as a long life and high capacity anode material for lithium ion batteries - RSC Adv., 2011, 1, 852-856.

Growth of titanium dioxide nanopetals induced by single wall carbon nanohorns - Carbon Volume 48, Issue 9, August 2010, Pages 2470–2477

Conductive and mesoporous single-wall carbon nanohorn/organic aerogel composites - Langmuir (2007) Volume: 23, Issue: 18, Pages: 9155-9157.

Single-step synthesis and characterization of single-walled carbon nanohorns hybridized with Pd nanoparticles using N2 gas-injected arc-in-water method - Carbon, Volume 49, Issue 14, November 2011, Pages 4920–4927




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