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Title: Designing the Structure of Carbon Fibers for Optimal Mechanical Properties

Carbon fiber manufacturing follows generic processing steps: formation of thermoplastic fibers, stabilization, and carbonization. The final structures and end properties of the carbon fiber can differ significantly depending on the precursor chemistry and the associated processing sciences. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and mesophase pitch are the predominant precursors used in the production of carbon fibers. PAN-based carbon fibers consist of nanocrystalline graphitic domains typically 1.5 5 nm in size surrounded by amorphous carbon; in contrast, pitch-based carbon fibers are 10 50 nm crystallites with the graphitic (002) planes mostly aligned parallel to the fiber axis. It has been seen that the skin core structure of PAN-based carbon fibers plays a significant role in their mechanical properties. Designing a more homogenous carbon fiber microstructure by controlling the starting polymer and process parameters results in a different set of tensile strengths and elastic moduli. In this study the microstructural defect distribution (0.1 200 nm), measured by small-angle X-ray scattering, was shown to be directly related to the tensile strength of the carbon fibers. Here the formation of carbon structures from various polymer precursors is reviewed. Such a comprehensive understanding offers the opportunity to design carbon fiber microstructures with improved properties and to ultimately createmore » new types of carbon fibers from alternative precursors at reduced cost.« less
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  1. ORNL
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Journal Volume: 1173
ACS, New york, NY, USA
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
Work for Others (WFO)
Country of Publication:
United States