Disclosed herein are processes for preparing carbonized polymers, such as carbon fibers, comprising: sulfonating a polymer with a sulfonating agent that comprises SO.sub.3 gas to form a sulfonated polymer; treating the sulfonated polymer with a heated solvent, wherein the temperature of said solvent is at least 95.degree. C.; and carbonizing the resulting product by heating it to a temperature of 500-3000.degree. C.
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.