Disclosed here are processes for preparing carbonized polymers (preferably carbon fibers), comprising sulfonating a polymer with a sulfonating agent that comprises SO.sub.3 dissolved in a solvent to form a sulfonated polymer; treating the sulfonated polymer with a heated solvent, wherein the temperature of the solvent is at least 95.degree. C.; and carbonizing the resulting product by heating it to a temperature of 500-3000.degree. C. Carbon fibers made according to these methods are also disclosed herein.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made under a NFE-10-02991 between The Dow Chemical Company and UT-Batelle, LLC, operating and management Contractor for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory operated for the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.