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Growth of carbon nanotubes on carbon fibers without strength degradation



Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are grown on PAN-based carbon fibers by means of catalytic chemical vapor deposition technique. By using catalytic thermal decomposition of hydrocarbon, CNTs can be grown in the temperature range of 650–750 °C. However, carbon fibers suffer significant damages resulting in decrease of initial tensile strength. By applying the oxidative dehydrogenation reaction of C2H2 with CO2, we found an alternative way to grow CNTs on carbon fibers at low temperatures, such as 500 °C. Scanning electron microscope results combined with single fiber tests indicate that this low temperature growth enables homogeneous grafting of CNTs onto carbon fibers without degradation of tensile strength.