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Materials 2011, 4(4), 621-632; doi:10.3390/ma4040621

Enhancing Crystallinity and Orientation by Hot-Stretching to Improve the Mechanical Properties of Electrospun Partially Aligned Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) Nanocomposites

Key Laboratory of Carbon Fiber and Functional Polymers, Ministry of Education, College of Materials Science & Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
Institute of Coal Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Science, Taiyuan 030001, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 February 2011 / Revised: 10 March 2011 / Accepted: 30 March 2011 / Published: 6 April 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposites of Polymers and Inorganic Particles 2011)
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Partially aligned polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based nanofibers were electrospun from PAN and PAN/single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in a solution of dimethylformamide (DMF) to make the nanofiber composites. The as-spun nanofibers were then hot-stretched in the oven to enhance its orientation and crystallinity. With the introduction of SWNTs and by the hot-stretched process, the mechanical properties will be enhanced correspondingly. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray scattering (XRD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and the tensile test were used to characterize the microstructure and performances of the nanofibers. The orientation and crystallinity of the as-spun and hot-stretched nanofibers confirmed by X-ray have increased. Differential scanning calorimetry showed that the glass transition temperature of PAN increased about 3 °C by an addition of 0.75 wt% SWNTs indicating a strong interfacial interaction between PAN and SWNTs. The tensile strength and the modulus of the nanofibers increased revealing significant load transfer across the nanotube-matrix interface. For PAN nanofibers, the improved fiber alignment, orientation and crystallinity resulted in enhanced mechanical properties, such as the tensile strength and modulus of the nanofibers. It was concluded that the hot-stretched nanofiber and the PAN/SWNTs nanofibers can be used as a potential precursor to produce high-performance nanocomposites. View Full-Text
Keywords: electrospinning; polyacrylonitrile; single-walled carbon nanotubes; nanocomposites electrospinning; polyacrylonitrile; single-walled carbon nanotubes; nanocomposites

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Song, Z.; Hou, X.; Zhang, L.; Wu, S. Enhancing Crystallinity and Orientation by Hot-Stretching to Improve the Mechanical Properties of Electrospun Partially Aligned Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) Nanocomposites. Materials 2011, 4, 621-632.

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