Abstract Carbon fibers have been prepared from lignin/recyclable plastic blends. Hardwood kraft lignin (HKL) was thermally blended with two recyclable polymers: poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and poly(propylene) (PP). The processibility of the lignin-based carbon fibers, such as fiber spinning and/or handling properties, is substantially improved by polymer blending. Blend miscibility dramatically affected fiber morphology. The HKL/PP fibers were immiscible whereas the HKL/PET blend fibers were miscible, as determined by differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) analysis. As a result, mechanical properties and surface characteristics of the resulting carbon fibers were quite different for each blend system. Mechanical properties of the HKL/PET carbon fibers are comparable or superior to the commercial general performance grade pitch-based carbon fibers. By contrast, porous carbon fibers are prepared from the HKL/PP blend carbon fibers. Tensile properties of the porous carbon fibers are comparable to that of pitch-based activated carbon fibers. In this entry, details on the production and properties of HKL/recyclable plastic blend carbon fibers are reviewed.
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