Highly flexible electrospun carbon/graphite nanofibers from a non-processable heterocyclic rigid-rod polymer of polybisbenzimidazobenzophenanthroline-dione (BBB)

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Development of mechanically flexible carbon nanofibers is highly desired for the applications in modern flexible electronics and energy storage devices. This work reports the manufacture and characterization of highly flexible carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and graphitic carbon nanofibers (GCNFs) from a non-processable heteroaromatic rigid-rod polymer, polybisbenzimidazobenzophenanthroline-dione (BBB). The flexible CNFs/GCNFs were prepared by a newly developed method of electrospun nanofiber template solid-state polymerization, followed by carbonization/graphitization. In specific, BBB nanofibers were prepared first by the nanofiber template solid-state polymerization method using polyimide as template by electrospinning and heat treatment (500 °C). Subsequently, CNFs/GCNFs were obtained through carbonization under different temperatures of 1200–2700 °C. SEM, HRTEM, Raman spectroscopy, and XRD were used to characterize the morphologies and microstructures. Intriguingly, the BBB-derived CNFs/GCNFs presented extremely good mechanical flexibility that resisting to readily bending, folding, and kneading. Hence, this newly developed extremely flexible BBB-derived CNFs/GCNFs with such good performance could have great potential applications such as using as electrode materials for flexible electrochemical devices.

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We are grateful to the financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants No. 21564008), the Major Special Projects of Jiangxi Provincial Department of Science and Technology (Grant No.: 20114ABF05100), and the Technology Plan Landing Project of Jiangxi Provincial Department of Education (GCJ2011-243).

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Correspondence to Yichun Ding or Haoqing Hou.

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The online version of this article contains supplementary material (synthesis of PAA; TGA curve of NTCA–DAB/PAA nanofibers; XPS spectra of BBB-PI and CNFs nanofibers; photographs demonstrating the flexibility of CNFs; stress-strain curves; detailed Raman and XRD analysis), which is available to authorized users. (DOCX 1759 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (AVI 9795 kb)

Supplementary material 3 (AVI 8991 kb)

Supplementary material 4 (AVI 8914 kb)

Supplementary material 5 (AVI 7627 kb)

Supplementary material 6 (AVI 8588 kb)

Supplementary material 7 (AVI 8765 kb)

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Zhu, J., Ding, Y., Liao, X. et al. Highly flexible electrospun carbon/graphite nanofibers from a non-processable heterocyclic rigid-rod polymer of polybisbenzimidazobenzophenanthroline-dione (BBB). J Mater Sci 53, 9002–9012 (2018).

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