A new prototype melt-electrospinning device for the production of biobased thermoplastic sub-microfibers and nanofibers
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Academic › peer-review
Sub-microfibers and nanofibers have a high surface-to-volume ratio, which makes them suitable for diverse applications including environmental remediation and filtration, energy production and storage, electronic and optical sensors, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. However, the use of such materials is limited by the low throughput of established manufacturing technologies. This short report provides an overview of current production methods for sub-microfibers and nanofibers and then introduces a new melt-electrospinning prototype based on a spinneret with 600 nozzles, thereby providing an important step towards larger-scale production. The prototype features an innovative collector that achieves the optimal spreading of the fiber due to its uneven surface, as well as a polymer inlet that ensures even polymer distribution to all nozzles. We prepared a first generation of biobased fibers with diameters ranging from 1.000 to 7.000 μm using polylactic acid and 6% (w/w) sodium stearate, but finer fibers could be produced in the future by optimizing the prototype and the composition of the raw materials. Melt electrospinning using the new prototype is a promising method for the production of high-quality sub-microfibers and nanofibers.