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Abstract  

A commercially available polyimide fiber was investigated as a possible precursor for the formation of carbon fibers. The thermal response of the fiber was thoroughly investigated using DSC, TMA and TG. These responses were dependent on the atmosphere and tension during scanning. The fiber was stabilized at high temperatures both in inert and oxidative environments and the effect of these stabilization treatments on the structure and properties of the fiber was carefully followed. During heating, the fiber showed shrinkage tendency at small tensions, but at higher tensions the fibers could be stretched. Among the two environments investigated, air was more effective than nitrogen in getting a more stable fiber.

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Three aromatic polyimides based on 3,3′,4,4′-biphenyl-tetracarboxylic dianhydride (BPDA) and three different diamines 2,2′-bis(trifluoromethyl)-4,4′-diaminobiphenyl (PFMB), 2,2′-dimethyl-4, 4′-diaminophenyl (DMB) or 3,3′-dimethylbenzidine (OTOL) have been synthesized. These polyimides are soluble in hotp-chlorophenol,m-cresol or other phenolic solvents. Fibers have been spun from isotropic solutions using a dry-jet wet spinning method. The as-spun fibers generally exhibit low tensile properties, and can be drawn at elevated temperatures (>380° C) up to a draw ratio of 10 times. Remarkable increases in tensile strength and modulus are achieved after drawing and annealing. The crystal structures of highly drawn fibers were determinedvia wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD). The crystal unit cell lattices have been determined to be monoclinic for BPDA-PFMB and triclinic for both BPDA-DMB and BPDA-OTOL. Thermomechanical analysis (TMA) was used to measure thermal shrinkage stress and strain. A selfelongation has been found in the temperature region around 450°C. This phenomenon can be explained as resulting from the structural development in the fibers as evidencedvia WAXD observations.

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Abstract  

The thermal mechanical properties and degradation behaviors were studied on fibers prepared from two high-performance, heterocyclic polymers, poly(p-phenylenebenzobisthiazole) (PBZT) and poly(p-phenylenebenzobisoxazole) (PBZO). Our research demonstrated that these two fibers exhibited excellent mechanical properties and outstanding thermal and thermo-oxidative stability. Their long-term mechanical tensile performance at high temperatures was found to be critically associated with the stability of the C—O or C—S linkage at the heterocyclic rings on these polymers' backbones. PBZO fibers with the C—O linkages displayed substantially higher thermal stability compared to PBZT containing C—S linkages. High resolution pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry provided the information of the pyrolyzates' compositions and distributions as well as their relationships with the structures of PBZT and PBZO. Based on the analysis of the compositions and distributions of all pyrolyzates at different temperatures, it was found that the thermal degradation mechanisms for both of these heterocyclic polymers were identical. Kevlar®-49 fibers were also studied under the same experimental conditions in order to make a comparison of thermo-oxidative stability and long-term mechanical performance at high temperatures with PBZO and PBZT fibers. The data of two high-performance aromatic polyimide fibers were also included as references.

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