Student Research

Iron Oxide Nanoparticle-Containing Composite Nanofibers Made by Co-electrospinning and Hydrothermal Carbonization

Co-electrospinning of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and synthetic black iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles was performed to prepare polymer composite nanofibers. The polymer composite nanofibers were heat treated at 250oC in the air to oxidize the PAN first. The fibers were then further heat treated at 500oC in argon gas to cause the PAN to be partially converted into carbon. The heat treated fibers contain carbon as the matrix and iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles as the fillers. Photosensitive tests showed that the composite nanofibers possess the photovoltaic property in visible light. In UV light, the composite fibers are not photosensitive. To coat the composite fibers with active carbon, some of the nanofiber samples were placed in a 10% dilution of sugar water in a non-stirred high pressure reactor to allow for hydrothermal carbonization. Several tests were applied to these coated samples. A light emission test was applied by using an electrochemical analyzer and a color-ink absorption test was applied by using a spectrometer.