Finger-like carbon-based nanostructures produced by combustion of flour-based sticks (spaghetti)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Biomass is becoming particularly important as a starting material for advanced carbon structures. In this study, we found interesting nanostructures on the surface of burnt spaghetti using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) for analysis. The structures were elongated and finger-like, with evidence that the tubes have shell and core components. The shell was carbon that included amorphous and layered graphene structures. EDX showed enriched potassium and phosphorous in the core and at the tip of the tubes. The results indicate that tube formation depends on phase separation of polar/ionic and nonpolar moieties when water is produced in the biomass from the pyrolysis/combustion. The tube growth is most probably due to the raising pressure of vapor that cannot escape through the carbon film that is formed at the surface of the stick from flame heat. This process resembles glass blowing or volcanic activity, where the carbon acts as the glass or earth’s crust, respectively. These observations suggest that new interesting tubular nanostructures with different properties on the inside and outside can be produced in a relatively simple way, utilizing processes of combustion of starch-rich biomass materials.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Materials Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Article numberC2019,5, 21; doi:10.3390/c5020021
Number of pages13
JournalC: Journal of Carbon Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 29
Publication categoryResearch