Strategies towards Novel Carbon Fiber Precursors: the Research Results on the Synthesis of PAN Copolymers via AGET ATRP and on Lignin as a Precursor

Spyridon Soulis, Stavros Anagnou, Eleni Milioni, Costas Mpalias, Ioannisa Kartsonakis, Irene Kanellopoulou, Vassilis Markakis, Elias P. Koumoulos, Evangelia Kontou and Costas A. Charitidis


The aim of this work is the presentation of two different approximations for improving the production of carbon fibers through the introduction of alternative precursors. The first approach concerns the development of novel polyacrylonitrile block copolymers through activators’ generated by electron transfer-atom transfer radical polymerization (AGET-ATRP) reaction mechanism in microemulsion; the novel polymers are envisaged to contain a structure that will be more efficiently oxidatively stabilized and/or carbonized, with the ultimate target of CFs with improved properties. The second approximation aims at the introduction of lignin as efficient CFs precursor; this approach aims at reducing the cost of the process and increasing the production yield. Pyrolysis together with oxidative stabilization of lignin were investigated, as well as the effects on structure and thermal behavior of blending with thermoplastics. Thus far, both these methodologies exhibited significant potential and will be further developed towards full scale industrial application.