This paper presents a structure-property model for carbon fiber derived from a polyethylene (PE) precursor that relates tensile modulus to the elastic properties and angular distribution of constituent graphitic layers, as measured using wide-angle x-ray diffraction of individual carbon fiber filaments. The observed relationship and interpretation of data using a uniform-stress model has revealed fundamental differences in the nature of the microstructure present in carbon fiber produced from polyethylene compared to carbon fiber produced from polyacrylonitrile (PAN) or pitch precursors. Specifically, it was found that the shear modulus, indicative of the shear between adjacent graphitic layers of the carbonized fiber is lower for polyethylene-derived carbon fiber than for PAN- or pitch-derived carbon fiber, suggesting that the covalent C-C sp3 crosslink density connecting adjacent graphitic layers in PE-derived carbon fiber is reduced. This structure that is less crosslinked is anticipated to be easier to orient during carbonization and high-temperature graphitization processes, yielding a highly oriented structure necessary for high tensile modulus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)