Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Rodney Andrews

Abstract

Due to its unique characteristics, carbon fiber is one of the leading materials for light weight, high strength and stiffness applications in composite materials. The development of carbon fibers approaching theoretical strengths and stiffness is a continuing process which has led to improved mechanical and physical properties over the recent years. Improvements in carbon fiber properties are directly dependent on the quality of the precursor fiber. Research and development of PAN precursor fiber requires extensive experimentation to determine how processing conditions affect the structure and properties of the precursor fibers. Therefore, it is the goal of this thesis to analyze the results of varying coagulation rates on fiber shape, density and porosity, to determine the effect of cross-sectional shape, density, and fiber diameter on the tensile strength of the fiber, and to investigate the most effective method for the reduction of fiber diameter. Results indicate a low temperature, high solvent concentration coagulating bath leads to a rounder cross section with lower void content. Reduction in fiber diameter was found to increase tensile strength while increased molecular orientation experienced during high draw down ratios led to an increase in fiber modulus.

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