skip to main content


Title: Shear Force Fiber Spinning: Process Parameter and Polymer Solution Property Considerations
For application of polymer nanofibers (e.g., sensors, and scaffolds to study cell behavior) it is important to control the spatial orientation of the fibers. We compare the ability to align and pattern fibers using shear force fiber spinning, i.e. contacting a drop of polymer solution with a rotating collector to mechanically draw a fiber, with electrospinning onto a rotating drum. Using polystyrene as a model system, we observe that the fiber spacing using shear force fiber spinning was more uniform than electrospinning with the rotating drum with relative standard deviations of 18% and 39%, respectively. Importantly, the approaches are complementary as the fiber spacing achieved using electrospinning with the rotating drum was ~10 microns while fiber spacing achieved using shear force fiber spinning was ~250 microns. To expand to additional polymer systems, we use polymer entanglement and capillary number. Solution properties that favor large capillary numbers (>50) prevent droplet breakup to facilitate fiber formation. Draw-down ratio was useful for determining appropriate process conditions (flow rate, rotational speed of the collector) to achieve continuous formation of fibers. These rules of thumb for considering the polymer solution properties and process parameters are expected to expand use of this platform for creating hierarchical structures of multiple fiber layers for cell scaffolds and additional applications.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1651957
NSF-PAR ID:
10088134
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Polymers
Volume:
11
Issue:
2
ISSN:
2073-4360
Page Range / eLocation ID:
294
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Electrospinning is considered a powerful method for the production of fibers in the nanoscale size. Small pore size results in poor cell infiltration, cell migration inhibition into scaffold pores and low oxygen diffusion. Electrospun polycaprolactone/gelatin/nano‐hydroxyapatite (PCL/Gel/nHA) scaffolds were deposited into two types of fiber collectors (novel rotating disc and plate) to study fiber morphology, chemical, mechanical, hydrophilic, and biodegradation properties between each other. The proliferation and differentiation of MG‐63 cells into the bone phenotype were determined using MTT method, alizarin red staining and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. The rates for disc rotation were 50 and 100 rpm. The pore size measurement results indicated that the fibers produced by the disc rotation collector with speed rate 50 rpm have larger pores as compared to fibers produced by disc rotation at 100 rpm and flat plate collectors. A randomly structure with controlled pore size (38.65 ±0.33 μm) and lower fiber density, as compared to fibers collected by disc rotation with speed rate 100 rpm and flat plate collectors, was obtained. Fibers collected on the rotating disc with speed rate 50 rpm, were more hydrophilic due to larger pore size and therefore, faster infiltration of water into the scaffold and the rate of degradation was higher. These results demonstrate that PCL/Gel/nHA scaffolds made through a rotating disc collector at 50 rpm are more feasible to be used in bone tissue engineering applications due to appropriate pore size and increased adhesion and proliferation of cells, ALP activity and mineral deposits. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater 107B: 933–950, 2019.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Electrospinning is commonly used for fabrication of polymer fibers. Melt electrospinning, instead of the commonly used solution electrospinning, offers many advantages in generating polymer fibers without using solvents. However, polymer melts have high viscosity which poses major limitations in producing low diameter fibers. Here, melt electrospinning is investigated at elevated temperatures in inert atmosphere to reduce fiber diameters while suppressing thermal degradation. Two types of spinneret configurations, syringe and wire, with two distinct outcomes are studied. In syringe‐based electrospinning, increasing the nozzle temperature from 300 to 360 °C in nitrogen reduced fiber diameter significantly from 33 ± 5 to 10 ± 4 µm. Electrospinning in nitrogen leads to formation of fibers even at a high nozzle temperature of 360 °C, while this temperature leads to thermal degradation when spinning in air. In contrast, increasing the temperature of wire electrospinning setup do not lead to a noticeable reduction in diameter. This is attributed to the viscosity‐dependent flow rate in this method. Increasing the temperature leads to increased flow rates, promoting the formation of thicker fibers, while the increased stretchability promotes the formation of thinner fibers. The results clearly demonstrate advantages of developing polymer microfibers in inert atmosphere to avoid thermal degradation with a temperature‐independent flow control.

     
    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    With recent developments in the field of smart textiles, researchers have been working toward fabricating architectures of nanofibers, known as nanoyarns, which mimic the geometry of a conventional yarn. In doing so, one can leverage the unique properties of nanoscale fibers, including high surface‐to‐volume ratio and tunable porosity, for the development of smart garments. In the last 5 years, researchers have produced nanoyarns from a limited number of polymers, including polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and poly(vinylidene fluoride) and its co‐polymers. However, to our knowledge, there has been little research on the solution properties and electrospinning parameters needed to fabricate these higher‐order architectures from nonwoven mats. In this work, a modified electrospinning setup, enclosed in a humidity‐controlled chamber, was developed to fabricate nanoyarns for integration into knitted textiles. We fabricated nanofibers and nanoyarns from PAN/DMF solutions and conducted a systematic study to analyze the effect of solution conductivity, viscosity, and electrospinning parameters (applied voltage, collector distance, and humidity) on fiber and yarn fabrication and morphology. Polymer concentration had a significant effect on fibrous cone and yarn fabrication. Low polymer concentrations resulted in poor cone formation, whereas high concentration resulted in dense cones that were difficult to draw into nanoyarns. Overall, the matrix of electrospinning parameters that resulted in the formation of homogenous nanofiber mats was larger than that of nanoyarn formation. Nanoyarn formation required higher polymer concentration and/or applied voltage than nonwoven mat formation. The influence of these parameters on nanoyarn formation and fiber diameter can be used to expand the library of spinnable nanoyarns and optimize their properties for specific applications. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci.2018,135, 46404.

     
    more » « less
  4. Electrospinning is a versatile approach to generate nanofibers in situ. Yet, recently, wet electrospinning has been introduced as a more efficient way to deposit isolated fibers inside bulk materials. In wet electrospinning, a liquid bath is adopted, instead of a solid collector, for fiber collection. However, despite several studies focused on wet electrospinning to yield polymer composites, few studies have investigated wet electrospinning to yield ceramic composites. In this paper, we propose a novel in-situ fabrication approach for nanofiber-reinforced ceramic composites based on an enhanced wet-electrospinning method. Our method uses electrospinning to draw polymer nanofibers directly into a reactive pre-ceramic gel, which is later activated to yield advanced nanofiber-reinforced ceramic composites. We demonstrate our method by investigating wet electrospun Polyacrylonitrile and Poly(ethylene oxide) fiber-reinforced geopolymer composites, with fiber weight fractions in the range 0.1–1.0 wt%. Wet electrospinning preserves the amorphous structure of geopolymer while changing the molecular arrangement. Wet electrospinning leads to an increase in both the fraction of mesopores and the overall porosity of geopolymer composites. The indentation modulus is in the range 6.76–8.90 GPa and the fracture toughness is in the range 0.49–0.76 MPam with a clear stiffening and toughening effect observed for Poly(ethylene oxide)-reinforced geopolymer composites. This work demonstrates the viability of wet electrospinning to fabricate multifunctional nanofiber-reinforced composites. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Cholesteryl ester liquid crystals exhibit thermochromic properties related to the existence of a twisted nematic phase. We formulate ternary mixtures of cholesteryl benzoate (CB), cholesteryl pelargonate (CP), and cholesteryl oleyl carbonate (COC) to achieve thermochromic behavior. We aim to achieve thermochromic fibers by incorporating the liquid crystal formulations into electrospun fibers. Two methods of incorporating the liquid crystal (LC) are compared: (1) blend electrospinning and (2) coaxial electrospinning using the same solvent system for the liquid crystal. For blend electrospinning, intermolecular interactions seem to be important in facilitating fiber formation since addition of LC can suppress bead formation. Coaxial electrospinning produces fibers with higher nominal fiber production rates (g/hr) and with higher nominal LC content in the fiber (wt. LC/wt. polymer assuming all of the solvent evaporates) but larger fiber size distributions as quantified by the coefficient of variation in fiber diameter than blend electrospinning with a single nozzle. Importantly, our proof-of-concept experiments demonstrate that coaxially electrospinning with LC and solvent in the core preserves the thermochromic properties of the LC so that thermochromic fibers are achieved. 
    more » « less