The Effect of Dye and Pigment Concentrations on the Diameter of Melt-Electrospun Polylactic Acid Fibers

Naveen Balakrishnan*, Kylie König, Gunnar Seide

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Sub-microfibers and nanofibers produce more breathable fabrics than coarse fibers and are therefore widely used in the textiles industry. They are prepared by electrospinning using a polymer solution or melt. Solution electrospinning produces finer fibers but requires toxic solvents. Melt electrospinning is more environmentally friendly, but is also technically challenging due to the low electrical conductivity and high viscosity of the polymer melt. Here we describe the use of colorants as additives to improve the electrical conductivity of polylactic acid (PLA). The addition of colorants increased the viscosity of the melt by >100%, but reduced the electrical resistance by >80% compared to pure PLA (5 G omega). The lowest electrical resistance of 50 M omega was achieved using a composite containing 3% (w/w) indigo. However, the thinnest fibers (52.5 mu m, 53% thinner than pure PLA fibers) were obtained by adding 1% (w/w) alizarin. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that fibers containing indigo featured polymer aggregates that inhibited electrical conductivity, and thus increased the fiber diameter. With further improvements to avoid aggregation, the proposed melt electrospinning process could complement or even replace industrial solution electrospinning and dyeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2321
Pages (from-to)2321
Number of pages20
JournalPolymers
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Biobased composite
  • Dope dyeing
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Melt electrospinning
  • NANOTECHNOLOGY
  • PLA
  • CELLS
  • DESIGN
  • NANOFIBERS
  • DISPERSION
  • ELECTRICAL-CONDUCTIVITY
  • dope dyeing
  • POLYMER MELTS
  • environmental sustainability
  • PHTHALOCYANINE
  • nanotechnology
  • ALIZARIN
  • DEGRADATION
  • melt electrospinning
  • biobased composites
  • MORPHOLOGY

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