The purpose of this study was the synthesis of novel low-cost carbon fibers along with the investigation of the optimal parameters of temperature and time for the stabilization of hybrid high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and lignin melt-spun fibers. These fibers were manufactured by physical compounding of HDPE and chemically-modified softwood kraft lignin (SKL) in order to produce green fiber precursors for carbon fiber synthesis. Stabilization tests were performed with respect to thermal treatment (physical method) and sulfonation treatment (chemical method). The results revealed that only chemical methods induce the desired thermal process-ability to the composite fibers in order to manufacture carbon fibers by using a simple method. This investigation shed light on the stabilization techniques of polymeric fibers in the absence of any cyclic groups in terms of environmentally-friendly mass production of carbon fibers using low-cost and green raw materials. This study facilitates incorporation of softwood lignin in homegrown polymeric fibers by a low-cost production process via melt-spinning of composite fibers, which were successfully stabilized using a facile chemical method and carbonized. Additionally, a comprehensive investigation of the thermal behavior of the samples was accomplished, by examining several ways and aspects of fiber thermal treating. The properties of all studied fibers are presented, compared, and discussed.
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