Dr Varun Shenoy Gangoli
- Consulting Scientist: NoPo Nanotechnologies (India), MacroCaps ApS (Taiwan)
- Research Scientist: Barron Research Group, Rice University, Houston (USA)
- Postdoctoral Researcher: R.E. Smalley Institute of Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University, Houston (USA)
- PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: Catalysis and NanoMaterials Research Group, Rice University, Houston (USA)
Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastic to Carbon Nanotubes
Aims and Objectives
- Study the dissolution of waste plastics using organic solvents by first identifying plastic composition and optimizing dissolution conditions
- Analyse catalysts and temperatures for carbon nanotube growth using plastics as the carbon source
- Purify the carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and recycle carbon by-products
- Develop wires and thin films from the CNTs, and work on scaling up CNT synthesis
The Energy Futures Research Group at ESRI has already shown proof of concept in converting waste plastics into CNTs, including black plastics and white plastics. The current research will focus adapting the established method across a wider range of plastics, including ostomy bags, scale up CNT growth in a 3-stage furnace prior to pilot-scale designs, and pairing experimental work with COMSOL simulation to increase research efficiency
This project has received funding from Salts Healthcare Ltd, with added generous support from the Welsh Government as part of the Circular Economy Strategy.
Developing a Hybrid Copper-CNT Conductive Cable
Aims and Objectives
- Develop a novel, scalable purification method to remove all impurities from CNT fibres
- Build upon a previously invented method to impregnate the void spaces with copper to create a continuous electrical pathway
- Scale up the hybrid fibre production, and test for electrical, thermal, and material strength properties
- Study the feasibility of replacing electric wiring in various applications with this hybrid cable
The Barron Research Groups at Rice University and ESRI previously invented not only the means towards >99% pure carbon nanomaterials, but also the method towards creating a hybrid Cu-CNT cable for enhanced electrical conductivity as a stop-gap towards the ultimate goal of ultra-long CNT cables for the electric grid. These cables have the benefit of replacing poor-conductive amorphous carbon and residual catalyst with pure copper just enough to fill the gaps between CNT-CNT hopping steps, while retaining the benefits of CNT cables with low mass, excellent scaling with temperature, and high strength coupled with malleability and ductility. This research will build upon this base in improving the processes further, designing a continuous roll-to-roll process for the same, and establishing proof-of-concept for the cables in various applications including motor windings, pseudo-one-dimensional thermal transfer materials, and electricity conduits in high load scenarios including high voltage, high current, and high operating temperatures simultaneously.
This project has received funding from the Office of Naval Research (US Navy, as part of the US DoD), and we welcome interested industrial partners for collaborations.