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Chemical vapor deposition synthesis of high-quality Ni3C/GNPs composite material: Effect of growth time on the yield, morphology and adsorption behavior of metal ions

Omnia M. El-Ahwany, Ahmed E. Awadallah, Samira M. Abdel-Azim, Ateyya A. Aboul-Enein, and Noha A. K. Aboul-Gheit

Process Development Division, Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, Cairo, Egypt



Received: 16 July 2021  Accepted: 29 October 2021


Nickel carbide (Ni3C)/Graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) composite materials were synthesized by catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of methane using commercial nickel oxide (NiO) as a catalyst substrate. The CVD reaction was conducted at 900 °C under ambient pressure. The influence of reaction time (30–120 min) on the yield and microstructure of as-generated GNPs has been studied. Various analytical techniques, such as XRD, TEM and Raman spectra, have been used for the microstructure characterization of the Ni3C/GNPs products. The yield and number of graphitic layers were observed to rise gradually with reaction time. TEM images indicated that highly transparent GNPs were deposited on the surface of the Ni3C phase at all reaction times, confirming the formation of a few graphitic layers. Furthermore, regardless of reaction time, all Ni3C/GNPs samples showed excellent crystallinity and graphitized structure, as evidenced by XRD and Raman results. UV–vis spectroscopy was used to evaluate the as-prepared Ni3C/GNPs materials as adsorbents for the removal of heavy metal ions (Fe+3, Co+2, Ni+2, and Cu+2) from aqueous media. All composite materials exhibited a high capacity for metal ions removal from aqueous media, with around 80–95% of metal ions eliminated after 24 h of adsorption time. The adsorption capability was substantially associated with the number of graphene layers.

Keywords: Graphene nanoplatelets; Nickel carbide; Chemical vapor deposition; Methane decomposition, adsorption; Heavy metal ions

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-021-01962-8


Chemical Papers 76 (3) 1579–1592 (2022)

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