Polymer Science Faculty Research

Title

Mechanical characterization of single high-strength electrospun polyimide nanofibres

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-4-2008

Abstract

Ultimate tensile strength and axial tensile modulus of single high-strength electrospun polyimide [poly(p-phenylene biphenyltetracarboximide), BPDA/PPA] nanofibres have been characterized by introducing a novel micro tensile testing method. The polyimide nanofibres with diameters of around 300 nm were produced by annealing their precursor (polyamic acid) nanofibres that were fabricated by the electrospinning technique. Experimental results of the micro tension tests show that polyimide nanofibres had an average ultimate tensile strength of 1.7 ± 0.12 GPa, axial tensile modulus of 76 ± 12 GPa and ultimate strain of ~3%. The ultimate tensile strength and axial tensile modulus of the electrospun polyimide nanofibres in this study are among the highest ones reported in the literature to date. The precursor nanofibres with similar diameters and molecular weights had an average ultimate tensile strength of 766 ± 41 MPa, axial tensile modulus of 13 ± 0.4 GPa and ultimate strain of ~43%. The experimental stress–strain curves obtained in this study indicate that under axial tension, the precursor (polyamic acid) nanofibres behave as linearly strain-hardening ductile material without obvious softening at final failure, while the polyimide nanofibres behave simply as brittle material with very high tensile strength and axial tensile modulus. Furthermore, by using a transmission electron microscope, detailed fractographical analysis was performed to examine the tensile failure mechanisms of the polyimide nanofibres, which include chain scission, pull-out, chain bundle breakage, etc. X-ray diffraction analysis of the highly aligned polyimide nanofibres shows the high chain alignment along the nanofibre axis that was formed in the electrospinning process and responsible for the high tensile strength and axial tensile stiffness.

Publication Title

Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics

Volume

41

First Page

1

Last Page

8