PAN-based Continuous Nanocomposite Carbon Fibers

Period of Performance: 09/02/2008 - 05/02/2009

$100K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Wright Materials Research CO.
1187 Richfield Center
Beavercreek, OH 45430
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Akron
284 Polsky Building
Akron, OH 44325
Institution POC

Abstract

The high strength, superior stiffness, and lightweight characteristics of carbon fibers have created enormous interest as reinforcing element for use in various structures of polymer matrix composites. Approximately 90 percent of all commercial carbon fibers are produced from a PAN precursor. The rest are manufactured from pitch and cellulose (rayon). Commercially used wet spinning of PAN-based fibers use large amount of toxic solvent. In recent years, nanomaterials and technology have shown promising in numerous areas with only a very small amount of content. In this proposed STTR project we will team up with University of Akron to process PAN fibers by an extrusion technique. We propose two approaches to tailor the nanostructure of the PAN fibers. These approaches enable continuous nanostructure carbon fibers and the associated composite to possess multifunctional properties. Preliminary research results indicated that both the proposed approaches are very promising. Nanostructure PAN-based carbon fibers with superior thermal-mechanical and electrical properties can be manufactured in a continuous and economical manner when the proposed technique is fully developed under this STTR program.