Pilot-scale production of polylactic acid nanofibers by melt electrospinning

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Abstract

Melt electrospinning has been used to manufacture fibers with diameters in the low micrometer range, but the production of submicrometer fibers has proven more challenging. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of fabricating polylactic acid nanofibers using polymer grades with the increasing melt flow rates (15–85 g/10 min at 210°C) by melt electrospinning with a 600-nozzle pilot-scale device featuring an integrated climate control system realized as a glass chamber around the spinneret. Previous experiments using this device without appropriate climate control produced fibers exceeding 1µm in diameter because the drawing of fibers was inhibited by the rapid cooling of the polymer melt. The integrated glass chamber created a temperature gradient exceeding the glass transition temperature of the polymer, which enhanced the drawing of fibers below the spinneret. An average fiber diameter of 810 nm was achieved using Ingeo Biopolymer 6252, and the finest individual fiber (420 nm in diameter) was produced at a spin pump speed of 5 rpm and a spinneret set temperature of 230°C. We have therefore demonstrated the innovative performance of our pilot-scale melt-electrospinning device, which bridges the gap between laboratory-scale and pilot-scale manufacturing and achieves fiber diameters comparable to those produced by conventional solution electrospinning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalE-polymers
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Fiber Spinning
  • Nanotechnology
  • nonwovens
  • process development
  • upscaling
  • nonwoven
  • DESIGN
  • fiber spinning
  • FIBER DIAMETER
  • nanotechnology
  • JETS
  • MORPHOLOGY

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