Formation of carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) through the decomposition of ethylene at 973 K was achieved using various metal catalysts covered with silica layers. CNFs of various diameters were formed by ethylene decomposition over a Co metal catalyst supported on the outer surface of the silica. In contrast, silica-coated Co catalysts formed CNTs with uniform diameters by ethylene decomposition. Silicacoated Ni/SiO2 and Pt/carbon black also formed CNTs with uniform diameters, while CNFs and CNTs with various diameters were formed over Ni/SiO2 and Pt/carbon black without a silica coating. These results indicate that silica layers that envelop metal particles prevent sintering of the metal particles during ethylene decomposition. This results in the preferential formation of CNTs with a uniform diameter.
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