Grafting of a liquid crystal polymer on carbon fibers

Satya Bhama*, Samuel I. Stupp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Covalent grafting of mesogenic chains on carbon fiber surfaces was attempted as part of a study on composite materials containing liquid crystal polymer matrices. Grafting in these composite systems is viewed not only as a mechanism to achieve interfacial bonding but also as an approach to modify the interphase physical structure. The synthetic approach to grafting involved the in‐situ polymerization of monomers in the presence of functionalized fibers in order to grow chains covalently attached to the fibers. The chemical mechanism may be viewed as the “transesterification of car boxy lated fibers” with acetylated monomers. The monomers used were pimelic acid, p‐acetoxybenzoic acid and diacetoxy hydroquinone which are known to yield upon condensation a chemically aperiodic nematic polymer. Evidence for grafting was obtained from X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis on fibers retrieved from composite samples. Interestingly, SEM micrographs of fractured composite specimens containing the mesogen‐grafted fibers reveal excellent wetting and interfacial bonding of a liquid crystalline matrix on the carbon surfaces. Based on theoretical considerations for end‐adsorbed macromolecules and the nematogenic nature of the grafted chains we infer that dense layers of adsorbed polymer may form at the interfaces studied. From a materials point of view the in situ growth of liquid crystal polymer chains on fibers may offer mechanisms to control composite properties through both bonding and molecular orientation in interfacial regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-608
Number of pages6
JournalPolymer Engineering & Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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