Date of Award

3-2016

Degree Name

MS in Polymers and Coatings

Department

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Advisor

Dr. Shanju Zhang

Abstract

High performance carbon fibers (CFs) have been a commercially available since their commercial boom in the 1970s, and are generally produced via carbonization of poly (acrylonitrile) (PAN). More recently, carbon nanomaterials like graphene and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been discovered and have shown excellent mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties due to their sp2 carbon repeating structure. Graphene and CNTs can both be organized into macroscopic fibers using a number of different techniques, resulting in fibers with promising mechanical performance that can be readily multifunctionalized. In some cases, the two materials have been combined, and the resulting hybrid fibers have been shown to display synergistically enhanced mechanical properties. The incredible intrinsic properties of graphene and CNTs has never been fully realized in their fiber assemblies, so part of the aim of this work is to discover methods to improve upon the performance of nanocarbon based fibers. Carbon nanomaterials can be difficult to work with because of the difficulty in processing them into commercially viable materials, and the challenges associated with scalable production techniques. So, the main goal of this work is to prepare hybrid graphene and CNT based fibers with optimal mechanical performance using simple, cost-effective methods.

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