In recent years carbon nanotubes have emerged as excellent materials for applications in which high surface area is required e.g. gas sensing, hydrogen storage, solar cells etc. Ultra-high surface to volume ratio is also a desirable property in the applications requiring enhanced catalytic activity where these high surface area materials can act as catalyst supports. One of the fastest developing areas needing such materials is fuel-cell. Here we investigate the process through which carbon nanotubes can be manufactured specifically to be used to increase the surface area of a carbon paper (Toray™). This carbon support is used in bio-catalytic fuel cell as an electrode to support enzyme which catalyzes the redox reaction. Deposition of nanotubes on these carbon fibers can result in great enhancement in the overall surface area to support the enzyme, which increases the reaction rate inside the fuel cell. The present paper describes a method to achieve ultra-thick growth of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWNT) on a carbon Toray™ paper using a joule heating process and gas-phase catalyst. Using this method, we are able to achieve rapid, high-density, and uniform MWNT growth. This method is also potentially scalable toward larger-scale production.

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