Carbonization of single polyacrylonitrile chains in coordination nanospaces†
It has been over half a century since polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based carbon fibers were first developed. However, the mechanism of the carbonization reaction remains largely unknown. Structural evolution of PAN during the preoxidation reaction, a stabilization reaction, is one of the most complicated stages because many chemical reactions, including cyclization, dehydration, and cross-linking reactions, simultaneously take place. Here, we report the stabilization reaction of single PAN chains within the one-dimensional nanochannels of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) to study an effect of interchain interactions on the stabilization process as well as the structure of the resulting ladder polymer (LP). The stabilization reaction of PAN within the MOFs could suppress the rapid generation of heat that initiates the self-catalyzed reaction and inevitably provokes many side-reactions and scission of PAN chains in the bulk state. Consequently, LP prepared within the MOFs had a more extended conjugated backbone than the bulk condition.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Celebrating 10 years of Chemical Science