Predicting the electrospinnability of polymer solutions with electromechanical simulation



The number of polymers successfully electrospun is increasing, and methods are needed predict the electrospinnability of polymers. With such methods, researchers should consider the polymer solution parameters and perform measurements in conditions that mimic the electrospinning process. A novel test method based on the electromechanical simulation of the fiber formation was developed. We formed fibers by mechanically dragging a conductive ball from the solution at an applied voltage and measuring the electrical current. The changes in the time of the electrical current (the ball current) reflect the fiber-formation process, which depended on certain polymer solution properties (e.g., viscosity, surface tension, liquid flow) and on the influence of charges on the fiber surface. The data obtained with the proposed method was compared with experimental data from electrospinning trials with the spinneret and bubble electrospinning. The results demonstrate that the ball-current method made it possible to predict the polymer solution behavior in the electrospinning process. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41091.