Enhanced mechanical properties of polyacrylonitrile/multiwall carbon nanotube composite fibers

M. C. Weisenberger, E. A. Grulke, D. Jacques, T. Rantell, R. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


The use of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) as a reinforcing phase in a polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fiber matrix was investigated with the goal of producing a PAN-derived carbon/MWNT composite fiber with enhanced physical properties. MWNTs were dispersed in a PAN/DMAc (dimethylacetamide) solution and spun into composite fibers containing up to 5 wt.% MWNTs, with the use of a lab-scale dry-jet wet spinline. The spinning process resulted in alignment of the MWNTs parallel with the fiber axis. Three types of chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-derived, high-purity MWNTs were used: as produced, graphitized (heat treated to 2800°C), and NaCN-treated (chemically treated to attach CN groups to the nanotube surface). Tensile tests were performed to measure yield stress/strain, initial modulus, break stress/strain, and energy to yield and energy to break. Significant mechanical property increases were recorded for the composite fibers compared with the control samples with no MWNT reinforcement: break strength +31%, initial modulus +36%, yield strength +46%, energy to yield +80%, and energy to break +83%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-539
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Carbon Fiber
  • Carbon Nanotube
  • Composite Fiber
  • MWNT
  • Nano-composite
  • PAN
  • Toughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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