Solution blow spinning: A new method to produce micro- and nanofibers from polymer solutions

Authors

  • Eliton S. Medeiros,

    1. Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering, Western Regional Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Albany, California 94710
    2. Laboratório Nacional de Nanotecnologia para o Agronegócio, Embrapa Instrumentação Agropecuária, R. XV de Novembro, 1452, São Carlos, SP 13560-970, Brazil
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  • Gregory M. Glenn,

    1. Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering, Western Regional Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Albany, California 94710
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  • Artur P. Klamczynski,

    1. Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering, Western Regional Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Albany, California 94710
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  • William J. Orts,

    1. Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering, Western Regional Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Albany, California 94710
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  • Luiz H. C. Mattoso

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratório Nacional de Nanotecnologia para o Agronegócio, Embrapa Instrumentação Agropecuária, R. XV de Novembro, 1452, São Carlos, SP 13560-970, Brazil
    • Laboratório Nacional de Nanotecnologia para o Agronegócio, Embrapa Instrumentação Agropecuária, R. XV de Novembro, 1452, São Carlos, SP 13560-970, Brazil
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Abstract

A solution blow spinning technique was developed using elements of both electrospinning and melt blowing technologies as an alternative method for making non-woven webs of micro- and nanofibers with diameters comparable with those made by the electrospinning process with the advantage of having a fiber production rate (measured by the polymer injection rate) several times higher. The diameters of fibers produced ranged from 40 nm for poly(lactic acid) to several micrometers for poly(methyl methacrylate). This solution blow spinning method uses a syringe pump to deliver a polymer solution to an apparatus consisting of concentric nozzles whereby the polymer solution is pumped through the inner nozzle while a constant, high velocity gas flow is sustained through the outer nozzle. Analysis of the process showed that pressure difference and shearing at the gas/solution interface jettisoned multiple strands of polymer solution towards a collector. During flight, the solvent component of the strands rapidly evaporates forming a web of micro and nanofibers. The effect of injection rate, gas flow pressure, polymer concentration, working distance, and protrusion distance of the inner nozzle was investigated. Polymer type and concentration had a greater effect on fiber diameter than the other parameters tested. Injection rate, gas flow pressure, and working distance affected fiber production rate and/or fiber morphology. Fibers were easily formed into yarns of micro- and nanofibers or non-woven films that could be applied directly onto biological tissue or collected in sheets on a rotating drum. Indeed, virtually any type of target could be used for fiber collection. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009

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