Carbon Nanotubes, Nanocrystal Forms, and Complex Nanoparticle Aggregates in Common Fuel-Gas Combustion Sources and the Ambient Air
Aggregated multiwall carbon nanotubes (with diameters ranging from ∼3 to 30nm) and related carbon nanocrystal forms ranging in size from 0.4 to 2 μm (average diameter) have been collected in the combustion streams for methane/air, natural gas/air, and propane gas/air flames using a thermal precipitator. Individual particle aggregates were collected on carbon/formvar-coated 3mm nickel grids and examined in a transmission electron microscope, utilizing bright-field imaging, selected-area electron diffraction analysis, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry techniques. The natural gas and propane gas sources were domestic (kitchen) stoves, and similar particle aggregates collected in the outdoor air were correspondingly identified as carbon nanocrystal aggregates and sometimes more complex aggregates of silica nanocrystals intermixed with the carbon nanotubes and other carbon nanocrystals. Finally, and in light of the potential for methane-series gas burning as major sources of carbon nanocrystal aggregates in both the indoor and outdoor air, data for natural gas consumption and corresponding asthma deaths and incidence are examined with a degree of speculation regarding any significance in the correlations.