Publications by authors named "Siavash Rajabpour"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Graphene reinforced carbon fibers.

Sci Adv 2020 Apr 24;6(17):eaaz4191. Epub 2020 Apr 24.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, 122 Engineer's Way, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.

The superlative strength-to-weight ratio of carbon fibers (CFs) can substantially reduce vehicle weight and improve energy efficiency. However, most CFs are derived from costly polyacrylonitrile (PAN), which limits their widespread adoption in the automotive industry. Extensive efforts to produce CFs from low cost, alternative precursor materials have failed to yield a commercially viable product. Here, we revisit PAN to study its conversion chemistry and microstructure evolution, which might provide clues for the design of low-cost CFs. We demonstrate that a small amount of graphene can minimize porosity/defects and reinforce PAN-based CFs. Our experimental results show that 0.075 weight % graphene-reinforced PAN/graphene composite CFs exhibits 225% increase in strength and 184% enhancement in Young's modulus compared to PAN CFs. Atomistic ReaxFF and large-scale molecular dynamics simulations jointly elucidate the ability of graphene to modify the microstructure by promoting favorable edge chemistry and polymer chain alignment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaz4191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182419PMC
April 2020

Atomistic Scale Analysis of the Carbonization Process for C/H/O/N-Based Polymers with the ReaxFF Reactive Force Field.

J Phys Chem B 2019 Jun 13;123(25):5357-5367. Epub 2019 Jun 13.

During the carbonization process of raw polymer precursors, graphitic structures can evolve. The presence of these graphitic structures affects mechanical properties of the carbonized carbon fibers. To gain a better understanding of the chemistry behind the evolution of these structures, we performed atomistic-scale simulations using the ReaxFF reactive force field. Three different polymers were considered as a precursor: idealized ladder PAN (polyacrylonitrile), a proposed oxidized PAN, and poly( p-phenylene-2,6-benzobisoxazole). We determined the underlying molecular details of polymer conversion into a carbon fiber structure. Because these are C/H/O/N-based polymers, we first developed an improved force field for C/H/O/N chemistry based on the density functional theory data with a particular focus on N formation kinetics and its interactions with polymer-associated radicals formed during the carbonization process. Then, using this improved force field, we performed atomistic-scale simulations of the initial stage of the carbonization process for the considered polymers. On the basis of our simulation data, the molecular pathways for the formation of low-molecular-weight gas species and all-carbon ring formation were determined. We also examined the possible alignment of the developed all-carbon 6-membered ring clusters, which is crucial for the further graphitic structure evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.9b04298DOI Listing
June 2019