Electrospinning is a simple process for making very thin fibers. In principle a syringe pump attached to a small nozzle, a conductive collector, and a high voltage power source in between is enough to turn a liquefied polymer into a nanofiber. The unique features associated with electrospun nanofibers make them attractive for a variety of products and applications in different fields.
Despite the simplicity of the process at first glance, the physics involved is actually rather complex. There are numerous material parameters and processing conditions that affect the electrospinning result. Optimizing all these parameters for a specific application requires in-depth knowledge of – and practical experience with – the electrospinning process. Furthermore, the electrospinning equipment used should provide optimal control over the relevant parameters while keeping interference with the process to a minimum.
The flexibility of this technique led to the development of several variants based on the same principle.
To produce micro and nanoparticles electrospraying can be applied, in case of core/shell structures emulsion and coaxial electrospinning are eligible techniques. When a high solvent boiling point makes it challenging to collect dry fibers, wet electrospinning can be used to precipitate the fibers. In order to spin polymer difficult to dissolve or to produce complex ordered structures melt electrospinning and electrospin writing could be the techniques of choice.
Due to the versatility and fine tunable technology, there are a wide range of electrospinning materials that can be applied. In the biomedical field the choice of the electrospinning materials are of fundamental importance. Biomedical products are based on degradable materials for short- to mid-term implants to non-degradable for permanent implants, such as dialysis shunts. In general, there a two groups of polymer electrospinning materials to be considered for use: the naturally derived and the synthetic polymers.
Interest in electrospun fibers has increased rapidly over the past decade. At first mainly from a scientific perspective, but nowadays there is also a strong industrial interest in electrospinning nanofibers and their applications, because of the unique characteristics of these ultra-thin fibers, their nanoscale surface area and relatively defect-free molecular structure. These properties open the way towards applications like drug delivery, tissue engineering, air and water filtration, high-performance textiles, photonics and electronics, high-strength fibers and composites, energy storage and conversion and many others. Find out more about the publications made with our state-of-the-art electrospinning equipment.
In the group of Prof. Dr. Christian Clasen from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the KU Leuven in Belgium aims to understand the flow and mass transfer phenomena on the micro-time and micro-dimensional scale…Read more