Carbonaceous mesophase with a nematic liquid crystal structure possesses an easily graphitizable characteristic and can be used as a promising raw material to prepare anisotropic carbon and graphite materials with high performance and multifunction. Therefore, the carbonaceous mesophase occupies a pivotal and irreplaceable position in many frontier and cutting-edge fields. The controllable preparation and characterization of carbonaceous mesophase derived from a model molecule (i.e., naphthalene) are presented, especially the formation, development, and transformation of anisotropic liquid crystalline mesophase in the synthetic naphthalene pitch during the process of liquid-phase carbonization (350–450°C). The increasing applications of naphthalene-based carbonaceous mesophase as an ideal precursor material for fabricating representative advanced carbon materials with high added value (e.g., mesophase pitch-derived coke, mesocarbon microbeads, mesophase pitch-based carbon foam, high-modulus mesophase pitch-based carbon fibers, and high-thermal-conductivity carbon-based composites, etc.) are reviewed in detail in this chapter.
Part of the book: Liquid Crystals and Display Technology