The nanoscale dimension determines the carbonization outcome of electrospun lignin/recycled-PET fibers

Efstratios Svinterikos, Ioannis Zuburtikudis, Mohamed Al-Marzouqi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of the nanoscale dimension on the carbonization of electrospun fibers is usually overlooked. In this study, we prove that it is a decisive factor in the outcome of the carbonization process. Six electrospun fibrous mats, each with a different average fiber diameter ranging from 80 nm to 781 nm were fabricated from a lignin/recycled-PET blend of mass ratio 1/1, and their weight loss and decomposition profile were monitored via thermogravimetry. The nano-size effect is evident for those electrospun mats with average diameter lower than 121 nm. These mats exhibit a significantly higher decomposition rate at the 180–260 °C temperature range, which leads to a considerable degree of fusion of the precursor nanofibers. Thus, the carbon structures formed from these mats do not retain the geometrical integrity of their precursor nanofibers. In contrast, no size-effects are manifested to the electrospun samples of average fiber diameter larger than 387 nm, as they decompose at a similar and lower rate between 180 and 260 °C and yield infusible carbon fibers with similar geometry as their corresponding precursor fibers. These results highlight the determinant role of the nano-dimension when carbon fibers are produced through the carbonization of precursor fibers at the sub-micron scale and point out its significance in processes controlled by heat and mass transfer phenomena, as in the case of carbonization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Publication statusPublished - Jul 20 2019


  • Carbon nanofibers
  • Carbonization
  • Diameter
  • Electrospinning
  • Lignin
  • Recycled PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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