A method for producing high strength, high modulus, and high thermal stability carbon fiber using gel-spinning

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a method for creating high strength, high modulus, and high thermal stability carbon fiber from PAN using a gel-spinning technique.  The gel-spinning process gives the fiber its high strength characteristics.  The fiber is then drawn and stabilized to obtain the high elastic modulus and high thermal stability without ultra-high temperature heat treatment.  The resulting elastic modulus is 25-30% higher and the thermal stability is 100 °C greater than that of current state-of-the-art fibers.

Solution Advantages
  • Lighter – Carbon fiber is lighter than metals and exhibits significantly higher strength characteristics
  • Stronger and More Thermally Stabile – Process produces stronger fibers by using new processing techniques
  • Lower Energy Manufacturing – Process does not require ultra-high temperature for heat treatment of fibers
Potential Commercial Applications
  • Automobile and vehicle manufacturing
  • Plane manufacturing
  • Space craft manufacturing
Background and More Information

As industry tries to cut down weight of products and environmental impact of using metals, there is a shift to using carbon-based materials due to their lightweight and superb mechanical properties.  Carbon fiber has low weight and high strength characteristics, which makes it a desirable material for many applications that require weight savings but high strength.  Common carbon fibers are produced using polyacrylonitrile (PAN) dry-jet wet spinning or wet spinning technologies to produce high strength carbon fiber.  While PAN fibers with a high modulus of elasticity have been produced, it is at the expense of tensile strength.  There is a market need to increase the tensile strength of these fibers along with their elastic modulus.