Reinforcing carbonized polyacrylonitrile fibers with nanoscale graphitic interface-layers

Rahul Franklin, Weiheng Xu, Dharneedar Ravichandran, Sayli Jambhulkar, Yuxiang Zhu, Kenan Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Carbon fibers going through stabilization, carbonization, and graphitization heat-treatment stages will form continuous graphitic layers that are closely packed and preferentially aligned along the fiber axis, forming high mechanical stiffness or strength and electrical or thermal conductivity. The alignment of noncontinuous, powder-like graphene layers in polymers has been challenging due to the low bending modulus of a few- or even single-layered graphene, which causes aggregations or folding behaviors. This research demonstrates the leveraging of polymer-nanoparticle interactions to align graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) in the polyacrylonitrile (PAN) matrix. An in-house designed spinning method produces a three-layered fiber that utilizes the interfacial interactions between each layer for graphene alignment between graphitic layers. This composite containing oriented GNPs significantly improves modulus (i.e., 42.3 to 74.6 GPa) and increases electrical conductivity for enhancing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) sensing behaviors. This research opens up a new scalable fabrication method for multilayered composites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Science and Technology
StatePublished - Dec 30 2021


  • Electrical
  • Graphene
  • Mechanical property
  • Multilayer
  • Nanocomposite
  • Sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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