School of Engineering
Preparation of high-value pitch-based carbon fibres (CFs) from mesophase pitch precursor is of great importance towards low-cost CFs. Herein, we developed a method to reduce the cost of CFs precursor through incorporating high loading of coal tar pitch (CTP) into polyacrylonitrile (PAN) polymer solution. The CTP with a loading of 25% and 50% was blended with PAN and their spinnability was examined by electrospinning process. The effect of CTP on thermal stabilization and carbonisation of PAN fibres was investigated by thermal analyses methods. Moreover, electrospun PAN/CTP fibres were carbonised at two different temperatures i.e., 850 °C and 1200 °C and their crystallographic structures of resulting such low-cost PAN/CTP CFs were studied through X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman analyses. Compared to pure PAN CFs, the electrical resistivity of PAN/25% CTP CFs significantly decreased by 92%, reaching 1.6 kΩ/sq. The overall results showed that PAN precursor containing 25% CTP resulted in balanced properties in terms of spinnability, thermal and structural properties. It is believed that CTP has a great potential to be used as an additive for PAN precursor and will pave the way for cost-reduced and high-performance CFs.
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