Carbon nanotubes production from real-world waste plastics and the pyrolysis behaviour

Yuan Zhu, Jie Miao, Yingrui Zhang, Chunchun Li, Yuanyuan Wang, Yi Cheng, Mingce Long, Jiawei Wang, Chunfei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The investigation of the pyrolysis behaviour of real-world waste plastics (RWWP) and using them as the feedstock to produce carbon nanotubes (CNTs) could serve as an effective solution to address the global waste plastics catastrophe. This research aimed to characterize the pyrolysis behaviour of RWWP via thermogravimetric analysis (TG) and fast pyrolysis-TG/mass spectrometry (Py-TG/MS) analyses. Activation energies (131.04 kJ mol–1 -171.04 kJ mol–1 ) for RWWP pyrolysis were calculated by three methods: Flynn-Wall-Ozawa (FWO) method, Kissinger-Akahira-Sunose (KAS) method, and Starink method. Py-TG/MS results indicated that the RWWP could be identified as polystyrene (RWWP-1), polyethylene (RWWP-2), polyethylene terephthalate (RWWP-3, 4), and polypropylene (RWWP-5, 6). In addition, RWWP-1, 2, 5, 6 outperform RWWP-3 and 4 as sources of carbon for producing CNTs. The results showed a high carbon yield of 32.21 wt% and a high degree of CNT purity at 93.04%. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
JournalWaste Management
Early online date10 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (

The authors express their gratitude for the financial support received from the China Scholarship Council (reference number: 202009210017) and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research (Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant No 823745). They also acknowledge the financial backing from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No 22111530110, 22106104) and the International Exchanges project through the Royal Society (IEC\NSFC\201146).


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Waste plastics
  • Pyrolysis behaviour
  • Product characteristics


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