Review Articles

A review of shaped carbon nanomaterials

Neil J. Coville, Sabelo D. Mhlanga, Edward N. Nxumalo, Ahmed Shaikjee
South African Journal of Science | Vol 107, No 3/4 | a418 | DOI: | © 2011 Neil J. Coville, Sabelo D. Mhlanga, Edward N. Nxumalo, Ahmed Shaikjee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 August 2010 | Published: 25 March 2011

About the author(s)

Neil J. Coville, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Sabelo D. Mhlanga, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Edward N. Nxumalo, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Ahmed Shaikjee, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Materials made of carbon that can be synthesised and characterised at the nano level have become a mainstay in the nanotechnology arena. These carbon materials can have a remarkable range of morphologies. They can have structures that are either hollow or filled and can take many shapes, as evidenced by the well-documented families of fullerenes and carbon nanotubes. However, these are but two of the shapes that carbon can form at the nano level. In this review we outline the types of shaped carbons that can be produced by simple synthetic procedures, focusing on spheres, tubes or fibres, and helices. Their mechanisms of formation and uses are also described.


carbon nanotubes; carbon spheres; carbon helices; graphene; carbon fibres


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