Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Apparatus and Method for Oxidation and Stabilization of Polymeric Materials

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Contact ORNL About This Technology


Technology Marketing SummaryResearchers at ORNL have developed a faster and more cost-effective method of oxidizing and stabilizing thermoplastic materials than is currently used in conventional carbon fiber production. This invention increases the rate of oxygen diffusion and chemical cross-linking of the polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor or other polymeric materials.

The production of carbon fibers from polymeric materials is a multi-step manufacturing process. Conventional oxidation or stabilization is the most time- consuming and rate-limiting step of this process, and has been the subject of much research for the purpose of reducing processing time and determining the final properties of the manufactured carbon fibers.DescriptionThe invention is based on the use of reactive oxidative species (ROS), such as monatomic oxygen, and atmospheric plasma to increase the rate of oxygen diffusion to nonoxidized polymeric material prior to carbonization. The chemically reactive species, ROS, are produced by non-thermal atmospheric plasma and
are better able to diffuse through the converted material, allowing oxidative stabilization to occur faster with plasma processing. The polymer is stabilized and cross-linked as a result of exposure to this plasma-derived gas containing ROS at a selected temperature. With different configurations, both batch-type and continuous processing can be supported with this method.
Benefits• Creates a more uniformly stabilized fiber that can yield a more uniform product after carbonization at less cost
• Diffuse plasma avoids the deleterious effects of filamentary plasma
• Capable of starting with PAN precursors and advancing the oxidation process to fully oxidized fibers, or to a desired level of oxidation
• May allow processing of fibers or other thermoplastic materials of greater thickness than what is considered commercially feasible
Applications and Industries• Useful to the carbon fiber industry in preparing polymer fibers, particularly PAN fibers, for later carbonization treatmentsPatents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 7,534,854
Patent
7,534,854
Apparatus and method for oxidation and stabilization of polymeric materials
An apparatus for treating polymeric materials comprises a treatment chamber adapted to maintain a selected atmosphere; a means for supporting the polymeric material within the chamber; and, a source of plasma-derived gas containing at least one reactive oxidative species whereby the polymer is stabilized and cross linked through exposure to the oxidative species in the chamber at a selected temperature. The polymer may be directly exposed to the plasma, or alternatively, the plasma may be established in a separate volume from which the reactive species may be extracted and introduced into the vicinity of the polymer. The apparatus may be configured for either batch-type or continuous-type processing. The apparatus and method are especially useful for preparing polymer fibers, particularly PAN fibers, for later carbonization treatments.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 05/19/2009
Issued
Patent 7,649,078
Patent
7,649,078
Apparatus and method for stabilization or oxidation of polymeric materials
An apparatus for treating polymeric materials comprises a treatment chamber adapted to maintain a selected atmosphere at a selected temperature; a means for supporting the polymeric material within the chamber; and, a source of ozone-containing gas, which decomposes at the selected temperature yielding at least one reactive oxidative species whereby the polymer is stabilized and cross linked through exposure to the oxidative species in the chamber at the selected temperature. The ozone may be generated by a plasma discharge or by various chemical processes. The apparatus may be configured for either batch-type or continuous-type processing. The apparatus and method are especially useful for preparing polymer fibers, particularly PAN fibers, for later carbonization treatments as well as to make flame-retardant fabrics.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 01/19/2010
Issued
Patent 7,786,253
Patent
7,786,253
Apparatus and method for oxidation and stabilization of polymeric materials
An apparatus for treating polymeric materials comprises a treatment chamber adapted to maintain a selected atmosphere; a means for supporting the polymeric material within the chamber; and, a source of plasma-derived gas containing at least one reactive oxidative species whereby the polymer is stabilized and cross linked through exposure to the oxidative species in the chamber at a selected temperature. The polymer may be directly exposed to the plasma, or alternatively, the plasma may be established in a separate volume from which the reactive species may be extracted and introduced into the vicinity of the polymer. The apparatus may be configured for either batch-type or continuous-type processing. The apparatus and method are especially useful for preparing polymer fibers, particularly PAN fibers, for later carbonization treatments.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 08/31/2010
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B IDs 200401434, 200501494, 200501651DevelopmentAvailable10/04/201110/04/2011

Contact ORNL About This Technology

To: Alexander G. DeTrana<detranaag@ornl.gov>