Electrical conductivity and photosensitivity of polyacrylonitrile-derived carbon nanofibers via various heat treatment cycles

There are many benefits of having a materials with low density and high surface area. The related research has attracted significant attention. To make porous nanofibers is one of the way to achieve low density and high surface area, and it is possible to keep its ability to conduct electricity. The current research focuses on controlling the amount of carbon network which was extended throughout the material by heat treatment. The heat treatment decompose the space holders. The remaining carbon nanofiber network that contained high content of carbon which allowed the nanofiber to have good electrical conductive property. The purpose of this study is to determine the electrical conductivity of porous polyacrylonitrile-derived carbon nanofibers when heat treated at various temperatures. To test the conductive property of the nanofibers, a electrochemical analyzer was used. The data from the different sintered specimens were compared and analyzed through graphical analysis. The results of the specimens sintered at temperatures from 21⁰C to 600⁰C displayed little difference in electrical conductivity, but the specimen treated at 650⁰C was a clear outlier with the highest electrical conductivity. The specimen sintered at 550⁰C also showed good conductivity. It was found that the increase in the heat treatment temperature enabled the nanofibers' electrical conductivity in an increasing way. The material was also electrically sensitive to light, and the addition of iron oxide had no significant influence on the electrical conductivity of the nanofibers. It is concluded that the more carbonization of the fiber network, the better the electrically conductive of the fibers. Further study on porous polyacrylonitrile nanofibers and their electrical conductivity property is encouraged by comparing different space holder polymers.