A comparison of reinforcement efficiency of various types of carbon nanotubes in polyacrylonitrile fiber

Han Gi Chae, T. V. Sreekumar, Tetsuya Uchida, Satish Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

247 Citations (Scopus)


Polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/carbon nanotubes (CNTs) composite fibers were spun from solutions in dimethyl acetamide (DMAc), using single wall (SWNTs), double wall (DWNTs), multi wall (MWNTs) carbon nanotubes, and vapor grown carbon nanofibers (VGCNFs). In each case, CNT content was 5 wt% with respect to the polymer. Structure, morphology, and properties of the composite fibers have been characterized using X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, tensile tests, dynamic mechanical tests, as well as thermal shrinkage. While all nanotubes contributed to property improvements, maximum increase in modulus (75%) and reduction in thermal shrinkage (up to 50%) was observed in the SWNT containing composites, and the maximum improvement in tensile strength (70%), strain to failure (110%), and work of rupture (230%) was observed in the MWNTs containing composites. PAN orientation is higher in the composite fiber (orientation factor up to 0.62) than in the control PAN fiber (orientation factor 0.52), and the PAN crystallite size in the composite fiber is up to 35% larger than in the control PAN (3.7 nm), while the overall PAN crystallinity diminished slightly. Nanotube orientation in the composite fibers is significantly higher (0.98 for SWNTs, 0.88 for DWNTs, and 0.91 for MWNTs and VGCNFs) than the PAN orientation (0.52-0.62). Improvement in low strain properties (modulus and shrinkage) was attributed to PAN interaction with the nanotube, while the improvement in high strain properties (tensile strength, elongation to break, and work of rupture) at least in part is attributed to the nanotube length. Property improvements have been analyzed in terms of nanotube surface area and orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10925-10935
Number of pages11
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Nov 21 2005


  • Carbon fiber
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Polyacrylonitrile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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