Single Wall Carbon Nanotube/Polyacrylonitrile Composite Fiber
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Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes (SWNTs), discovered in 1993, have good mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is an important fiber for textiles as well as a precursor for carbon fibers. PAN has been produced since 1930s. In this study, we have processed SWNT/PAN fibers by dry-jet wet spinning. Purified SWNT, nitric acid treated SWNTs, and benzonitrile functionalized SWNTs have been used. Fiber processing was done in Dimethyl Formamide (DMF) and coagulation was done in DMF/water mixture. The coagulated fibers were drawn (draw ratio of 6) at 95 oC. Structure, orientation, and mechanical properties of these fibers have been studied. The cross-sections for all the fibers are not circular. Incorporation of SWNT in PAN results in improved mechanical properties, tensile modulus increased from 7.9 GPa for control PAN to 13.7 GPa for SWNT/PAN composite fiber, and functionalized SWNTs result in higher improvements with tensile modulus reaching 17.8 GPa for acid treated SWNT/PAN composite fibers. The theoretical analysis suggests that observed moduli of the composite fibers are consistent with the predicted values.