Polymer-based Carbon Fiber Precursor Development

National Laboratory: 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Processing/Manufacturing Class: 
Fabrication and synthesis

To complement its core capabilities for carbon fiber conversion, ORNL has developed a unique understanding of alternative carbon precursors of polymeric and non-polymeric organic compounds in nature, their melt rheology, and processing in fiber form. Currently, ORNL is building a new laboratory for synthesis of polymers and solution spinning of carbon precursors. ORNL also has multiscale melt-spinning equipment (small, intermediate, and semi-production-scale capabilities) for melt processing of alternative carbon precursors. Other capabilities include single and twin screw extruders, batch and continuous single and multicomponent melt-spinning equipment, a bench-top electro-spinning device, and auxiliary fiber stretching and winding devices. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based precursors, polyolefins, lignin-derivatives, pitch-based precursors, and others can be processed.

Capability Bounds: 

Fiber tows of four to 100 filaments can be produced for solution spinning of fibers. Additional solution spinning capabilities are being added. Other than monofilament fiber spools, tows of 10 to 800 filaments can be processed using melt-spinning devices. Fiber production capacity ranges from 0.05 kg to 70,000 kg.

Unique Aspects: 

Extensive knowledge of carbon precursor chemistries-rheology-processing-manufacturing, along with other capabilities, is open to industrial collaboration. ORNL maintains research staff with experience in carbon precursor manufacturing to complement these facilities. Extensive melt-spinning facilities are available on site, and solution-spinning capabilities are being added.


These facilities are available for various partnership arrangements with industry.

Single Point of Contact: 

Dr. Amit K Naskar, Group Leader Carbon and Composites, naskarak@ornl.gov, 865-576-0308

  1. Warren CD, Paulauskas FL, Baker FS, Eberle C, Naskar A. 'Development of commodity grade, lower cost carbon fiber _ Commercial applications.' SAMPE Journal, 45 (2), 24 (2009).
  2. Hunt MA, Saito T, Brown RH, Kumbhar AS, Naskar AK. 'Patterned functional carbon fibers from polyethylene.' Advanced Materials, 24(18), 2386-2389, (2012).
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