Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical and Chemical Engineering


Patrick T. Mather

Second Advisor

Mathew M. Maye


carbon fiber, characterization, oxidation, silanization

Subject Categories

Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering


Carbon fiber composites are a widely used, advanced material with exceedingly high strength to weight properties. In this thesis, a literature overview of carbon fiber manufacturing was provided, as well as a thorough analysis of in- house electrospun polyacrylonitrile fiber stabilization and surface modification of the resulting carbon fibers. In the first section, an overview of precursor fiber fabrication is provided, followed by an analysis of stabilization using surface and bulk composition, dimensional analysis, and functional group analysis via FTIR. The second section uses the current stabilization procedure to develop carbon nanofibers. Fibers first underwent a nitric acid oxidation time series experiment analyzed by surface composition and base neutralization. Using a semi-quantitative function developed in the current research, stoichiometric ratios of a silane- coupling agent were applied to oxidized carbon fibers, and an analysis was conducted on two solution types, and three stoichometries. The functionalized surface properties were determined using XPS and EDX, and provide the foundation for future studies on the effect of the fiber-matrix interphase on shape memory composite performance.