Although the electrical properties of carbon fibers and carbon fiber composites are critical to the design of composite materials, a direct measurement of the transverse electrical resistivity of a single carbon fiber has not yet been reported. Significant challenges arise in fabricating specimens and making electrical resistance measurements due to the geometry and small diameter of a single carbon fiber (about 4–7 μm). In this study, we report a specimen design and fabrication technique for measuring the transverse electrical resistance of an individual carbon fiber by the van der Pauw method. IM7 carbon fiber specimens are fabricated by a combination of photolithography and the focused ion beam. Specimen thickness, which is required for resistivity calculations, is measured by atomic force microscopy. We measure mean transverse electrical resistivity of (9.3 ± 0.3) × 10−5 Ω m, which is roughly six times greater than the reported longitudinal values. Our measurement technique can be applied to a range of conductive fibers. More accurate measurements of the electrical conduction in carbon fibers are critical for applications such as electromagnetic interference shielding, structural health monitoring, and lightning strike protection.

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