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Effect of the Ionic Liquid Structure on the Melt Processability of Polyacrylonitrile Fibers...

Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Publication Date
Page Numbers
8663 to 8673

The production of high-strength carbon fibers is an energy-intensive process, where a significant cost involves the wet or dry-spinning of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fiber precursors. Melt-spinning PAN fibers would allow for significant reduction in the production cost and production hazards. Ionic liquids (ILs) are an attractive fiber-processing medium because of their negligible vapor pressure and low toxicity. In addition, they are carbon-forming precursors; upon carbonization, residual ILs can enhance the carbon yield, although primarily useful for plasticized melt-spinning of PAN precursor fibers. In this research, we investigated the influence of the molecular structure of ILs and the control of plasticizing interactions with PAN during melt-spinning. The structural, thermal, and mechanical properties of the melt-spun PAN fibers were obtained by a combination of various characterization methods, such as differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and mechanical testing. These results demonstrated that the IL structure and counteranions influence the PAN fiber formation. More specifically, ILs containing bromide counteranions produced PAN precursor fibers with increased mechanical properties compared to ILs containing chloride anions. Our research can provide a foundation to understand the influence of ILs on melt-spinning of PAN fibers and provides us the guidelines for a higher cost-/energy-efficient production of PAN-based carbon fibers.