Template-based chemical vapor deposition (TB-CVD) is a versatile technique for manufacturing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or CNT-based devices for various applications. In this process, carbon is deposited by thermal decomposition of a carbon-based precursor gas inside the nanoscopic cylindrical pores of anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) templates to form CNTs. Experimental results show CNT formation in templates is controlled by TB-CVD process parameters, such as time, temperature and flow rate. Optimization of this process is done empirically, requiring tremendous time and effort. Moreover, there is a need for a more comprehensive and low cost way to characterize the flow in the furnace in order to understand how process parameters may affect CNT formation. In this report, we describe the development of four, three-dimensional numerical models, each varying in complexity, to elucidate the thermo-fluid behavior inside the TB-CVD process. Using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) commercial codes, the four models were compared to determine how the presence of the template and boat, composition of the precursor gas, and consumption of species at the template surface affect the temperature profiles and velocity fields in the system. The most accurate model will be used to conduct particle injection/tracking near the templates and to characterize the particle residence time as a function of time and consumption rate. The developments in this work build the groundwork for explaining how flow characteristics affect carbon deposition on templates in any CVD reactor.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Carbon nanotubes--Mechanical properties; Carbon nanotubes--Mathematical models; Chemical vapor deposition

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Michael G. Schrlau

Advisor/Committee Member

Patricia Taboada-Serrano

Advisor/Committee Member

Steven W. Day


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at QD181.C1 S49 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes