Low-Cost, High-Quality Carbon Fiber Precursor

Low-Cost High-Quality Carbon Fiber Precursor Low-Cost High-Quality Carbon Fiber Precursor  (hi-res image)
Recently, ORNL has developed a new process for converting textile-grade polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor to low-cost carbon fibers.  This process has the advantage of significantly reducing the cost of carbon fiber production, but to date the performance of the resultant carbon fiber is limited to industrial applications.  In addition, the chemistry of precursor, its original production method, and its stabilization kinetic parameters cause lack of molecular order.  To address this challenge, ORNL has developed a method that can be introduced into traditional PAN precursor and production processes with minimal process impact and has the potential to significantly improve the economics and performance of resulting carbon fiber.  While this technology is in the early development stage, if successful it will enable much broader adoption of carbon fiber produced using precursors produced in textile PAN manufacturing facilities.

This project was accepted into TIP with the goal of providing a minor modification to traditional textile PAN production lines that enhances molecular order in precursor thereby enhancing the performance of the carbonized filaments. 

Ability to improve and retain the molecular order in precursor fibers during stabilization favors carbon fiber quality and performance.  If successful, this technology could enable the adoption of carbon fiber produced from textile PAN precursors in more demanding applications, possibly including aerospace applications.

For more information, or to obtain an application to license this technology, please contact Nestor Franco at 865-574-0534 or francone@ornl.gov.  Additional information can be found on our FedBizOpps listing.


Intellectual Property

Enhancing textile grade PAN carbon fiber precursors

Invention Disclosure No. 201603816

– Provisional patent application in preparation

Technology Summaries

Fact Sheet


E. Morris, M.C. Weisenberger, M.G. Abdallah, F. Vautard, H.A. Grappe, S. Ozcan, F.L. Paulauskas, C. Eberle, D.C. Jackson, S.J. Mecham, A.K. Naskar. “High performance carbon fibers from very high molecular weight polyacrylonitrile precursors”. Carbon, 101(C) (2016).”