Gel-Spun Carbon Fiber Yields High-Strength MaterialEngineering360 News Desk | August 12, 2015
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a way to make carbon fiber-reinforced polymers that are stronger than conventional carbon-fiber technology.
This approach is based on a technique for spinning polyacrylonitrile (PAN), an organic polymer resin used to make carbon fibers.
“By using a gel-spinning technique to process PAN copolymer into carbon fibers, we have developed next-generation carbon fibers that exhibit a combination of strength and modulus not seen previously with the conventional solution-spun method,” says Satish Kumar, a professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering.
The gel-spun carbon fiber produced by Kumar’s team was tested at 5.5 to 5.8 gigapascals (GPa)—a measure of ultimate tensile strength—and had a tensile modulus in the 354-375 GPa range.
“This is the highest combination of strength and modulus for any continuous fiber reported to-date,” he says. “And at short gauge length, fiber tensile strength was measured as high as 12.1 GPa, which is the highest tensile-strength value ever reported for a PAN-based carbon fiber.”
The material was produced on a continuous carbonization line. The line was built as part of a four-year, $9.8 million project sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to improve the strength of carbon-fiber materials.