Electron microscopy studies showed that the porous structure of PBO fiber may contain fractal geometries; i.e., the void spaces are self-similar with variations in magnification. At the fiber surface, a dense skin which consists of fibrils was observed. In the matrix, the fibril size is about 5 to 50 nm with the voids distributed randomly among the fibrils. The fractal dimension of voids in PBO fiber as determined by microscopy and image analysis was found to be 2.44. The fibrillated fiber showed a continuous fibril size distribution with no evidence of fibril size hierarchy. These observations suggest a nucleation and growth mechanism for the formation of the fibrillar structure in PBO fiber.
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