Lignin fibres prepared by coagulation : a promising precursor for carbon fibres

Abstract : Carbon fibres are currently used in composite materials for the aerospace, transportation and energy sectors. Their application in mass markets however is hindered by the high cost of the fibre raw materials. Therefore, alternative and inexpensive precursor materials are in high demand. Especially lignin, a widely abundant natural resource containing high quantities of carbon, is considered as an important candidate. So far, lignin fibres have mostly been prepared by melt-spinning and by blending with thermoplastic polymers to enhance their spinnability and mechanical properties, but strongly lowering their carbonization yields and raising their price. We propose lignin-based precursor fibres obtained through a continuous wet-spinning process. In combination with only small ratios of polyvinyl alcohol, highly flexible and infusible composite fibres, containing up to 70-90 % of industrial lignin, can be obtained.Our development enables us to manufacture carbon fibres in high yields which exhibit promising properties. Until now, lignin-based carbon fibres reported in literature do not reach the mechanical properties required for high-performance applications due to their amorphous carbon structure. However, by incorporation of liquid crystalline graphene oxide flakes or cellulose nanocrystals into our lignin precursor fibres, we are able to improve the orientation of the carbon planes obtained after carbonization. Our lignin-based fibre systems with enhanced structuration thus represent an important step towards the industrial implementation of lignin as “green” precursor material for low-cost and high-strength carbon fibres.
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Marie Föllmer. Lignin fibres prepared by coagulation : a promising precursor for carbon fibres. Material chemistry. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0238⟩. ⟨tel-02170506⟩

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