Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 51, Issue 21, pp 9638–9648 | Cite as

High-resolution imaging of the nanostructured surface of polyacrylonitrile-based fibers

  • Christina KunzmannEmail author
  • Judith Moosburger-Will
  • Siegfried Horn
Original Paper


In our study, we present atomic force microscopy (AFM) investigations of the surface of Polyacrylonitrile-based carbon fibers utilizing two different AFM probes, a standard tip as used in literature up to now and a recently made available super sharp tip. Using the super sharp tip, we identified so far not reported pore-like nanostructures distributed homogeneously over the surface of the fibers. We show that such nanopores are already present on the surface of the corresponding precursor fiber, indicating that these structures are characteristic for the fiber along the production process. To investigate a possible correlation between the surface structures and the mechanical properties of carbon fibers, we further analyzed the surface of various carbon fibers showing different tensile strengths. All investigated fibers show characteristic nanoporous surface structures and a correlation was found between the Nanopore size and shape and the mechanical properties. The effective nanopore area and the aspect ratio of the nanopores decrease with increasing tensile strength of the fibers. In addition, the nanoroughness of the fiber surface is correlated to the nanopore size and also decreases with increasing tensile strength.


Atomic Force Microscopy Carbon Fiber Atomic Force Microscopy Probe Precursor Fiber Pore Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental Physics II, Institute of PhysicsUniversity of AugsburgAugsburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Materials Resource ManagementUniversity of AugsburgAugsburgGermany

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