CAMP Has Collaborative Projects with Composite Factory, Inc.

Two NYSERDA-funded projects that CAMP has with Composite Factory, Inc. are titled “Novel Energy Saving Methods of Coating Carbon Fibers” and “Feasibility of Energy Efficient Manufacture of Continuous Submicron Carbon Fibers.” CAMP Professor Igor Sokolov (who serves as PI on both projects) is working with Clarkson University’s Visiting Research Professor Alexandre Semenov and Composite Factory’s Engineering and Programs Manager Ed Marin.

Fiber Coating Project

The group has demonstrated the coating of graphite fibers via the liquid-crystal directed self–assembly method. A novel two-step fast coating process was developed. Also a joint Composite Factory, Inc./Clarkson University patent is being filed. The speed of this coating is in the range of cm/sec. Many fibers can be processed in parallel. Being self-assembled, the creation of the film requires no or a very small amount of energy. See Figure 1.

Feasibility of Energy Efficient Manufacture of Continuous Submicron Carbon Fibers

The group has developed an electrospinning apparatus to make polymer fibers. They demonstrated that it is possible to make submicron fibers in a large quantity. See Figure 2. A new two step method of making submicron carbon fibers through the process of heat treatment in a regular and argon atmosphere has been developed. Also a joint Composite Factory, Inc./Clarkson University patent is being filed.

Using the AFM technique, they measured the mechanical properties of individual carbon and polymer fibers. In contrast to conventional techniques, the AFM allows them to measure the tensile moduli for nanoscale deformations. Such deformations are important for estimating the mechanical properties of composite materials. For this project, modeling of the composite materials (using submicron fibers) is being done by Clarkson Professors John Moosbrugger, David Morrison, and Kathleen Issen. Professor Sokolov and his group have observed an intriguing discrepancy with the conventional techniques that give tensile moduli for hundreds of micron deformation.


Figure1. SEM images of uncoated (left) and coated (right) carbon fibers. The coating is clearly seen near the edge of one fiber.

The discrepancy was quite large for polymer and glass fibers, while rather small for carbon fibers. Future research will show the reason why the tensile moduli of some fibers are different at nanoscale deformations from their macroscopic values.

Figure 2. Electrospinning of polymer fibers

Clarkson University Continues Army Research Office Project on Smart Responsive and Nanocomposite Systems

Clarkson University was recently awarded a $2M contract by the U.S. Army Research Office to carry out a project on Smart Responsive and Nanocomposite Systems. The research is led by Distinguished University Professor / CAMP Director S.V. Babu and CAMP Professors Sergiy Minko ( Egon Matijevic' Chaired Professor of Chemistry) and Igor Sokolov. The team also includes CAMP Professors Goodarz Ahmadi (Dean of Engineering at Clarkson University), Cetin Cetinkaya, Yuzhuo Li, Ratneshwar Jha, Janos Fendler (CAMP Distinguished Professor of Chemistry), John McLaughlin, John Moosbrugger, David Morrison, Vladimir Privman (Robert A. Plane Professor of Chemistry), Devon Shipp, and Ian Suni.

Figure 3. The figure shows the membrane with open (left-hand side) and closed (right-hand side) pores in dry state and in water (pH 2). Image size: 20x20 μm 2