The Tokyo Institute of Technology and Teijin have jointly fabricated a carbon nanofiber with high conductivity and first-of-its-kind elliptical cross-section comprising well-developed graphite layers arranged in one direction.
The extra-conductive carbon nanofiber has dimensions of 20 µm of length and 50-100 nm of minimum diameters to 100-300 nm of maximum diameters. Its high linear structure delivers an electrical conductivity that is 30% to 40% higher than that of the traditional carbon nanofiber.
The novel carbon nanofiber can be manufactured using a melt-spinning process, a widely used manufacturing process for common chemical fibers. Thus, it can be produced in current facilities devoid of additional capital investment. It can be produced with high purity, as the process does not use a catalyst.
According to the researchers of the organizations, the novel carbon nanofiber’s low electric resistance is characterized by its fiber length and its novel structure of well-defined graphite layers arranged in one direction all along the cross-section. The cross-section of a traditional carbon nanofiber comprises several concentric graphite layers.
The carbon nanofiber also features several loop-shaped graphene layer ends that are protruding in high density from the surface of the fiber, thus supporting chemical reactivity, which in turn provides the carbon nanofiber with higher dispensability in liquid matters and better connectivity with resins.
The unique carbon nanofiber finds applications in the production of battery components for electric vehicles, plastic reinforcing materials, fuel-cell gas-diffusion layers, plastic additives, electrode additives and capacitors.