Predicting cost-effective carbon fiber precursors: Unraveling the functionalities of oxygen and nitrogen-containing groups during carbonization from ReaxFF simulations

Qian Mao, Siavash Rajabpour, Malgorzata Kowalik, Adri C.T. van Duin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Blends of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and poly(p-phenylene-2,6-benzobisoxazole) (PBO) as precursors may offer an opportunity to reduce the cost of carbon fiber (CF) production. The all-carbon ring formations and volatile gas production during the heating and carbonization for 9 PAN/PBO blend precursors with varying mixing ratios are studied via the ReaxFF reactive molecular dynamics simulations. Evolutions of oxygen-containing (O-containing) and nitrogen-containing (N-containing) groups are detailed, in order to reveal the reaction mechanisms of the O and N-based CF precursors. Particularly, the O-containing groups are identified to be more efficient for initiating the carbonization, whereas N-containing groups are far longer retained in the graphitic materials and play a key role in capturing and converting carbon radical species into the graphitic networks. Additionally, the PAN/PBO blend precursor with a mole ratio of 1:1 is compared with the pre-oxidized PAN, PAN, and PBO. It is found that the PAN/PBO blends could be a promising alternative for the cost-effective PAN-based CF precursors, since they can decrease the cost of the CF production by means of: (a) eliminating the pre-oxidation process, (b) having considerable all-carbon ring formations within a short period, and (c) having a relatively fast conversion rate, reaching 95% 6-membered carbon ring formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-36
Number of pages12
JournalCarbon
Volume159
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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