Polyacrylonitrile/carbon nanotube composite fibers


Han Gi Chae, gtg866p@mail.gatech.edu, School of Polymer, Textile & Fiber Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, MRDC 1, 801 Ferst Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30332-0295 and Satish Kumar, satish.kumar@ptfe.gatech.edu, School of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 801 Ferst Drive, NW, MRDC1, Atlanta, GA 30332.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising candidates for constructing functional polymer nano-composite materials due to their exceptional mechanical properties as well as highly anisotropic electrical and thermal transport properties. The composite fibers from polyacrylonitrile (PAN) containing various types of CNTs by conventional solution spinning exhibited that the SWNTs have the strongest interaction with polymer matrix and the longer nanotubes provide higher ultimate mechanical properties such as tensile strength and toughness. In order to obtain high nanotube orientation, gel spinning was adopted. The tensile modulus of the gel spun composite fiber was higher than the theoretically predicted value based on the composite rule of mixtures. This was attributed to the enhanced order in the polymer matrix in the vicinity of the polymer matrix. While SWNT provide outstanding opportunities in materials development, many of the predicted properties can be achieved only if the nanotubes are well dispersed, exfoliated, and oriented in the polymer systems of interest. Effect of carbon nano tubes on the carbonization behavior of polyacrylonitrile is also being investigated. Up-to-date results on PAN/CNT composite fiber research will be presented.