Abstract: The applications of smart functional materials and structures are huge and have received much attention across the world. These materials and structures include nanofibres, microbubbles, capsules, nanowires, nanorods and many more. The notable applications of these materials include tissue engineering, biosensors, filtration, wound dressings, drug delivery, electronic and optical devices. Electrospinning is a widely used method where an electrostatic force generates polymer fibres in the sub-micrometer scale. Both natural and synthetic non-woven polymer fibres could be manufactured through this method. Despite the fact that it is a well established technique it suffers from low productivity and this is regarded as a serious drawback of this process. Even though there are so many other fabrication methods such as melt/solution blowing, nozzle conjugate melt spinning and wet spinning available to form fibres, there is still an uncertainty in the current state-of-the-art technologies to mass produce uniform nanofibres more consistently, robustly and reliably at low cost. The aim of the current research is to process multi-functional fibres and other artefacts with competitive morphologies and higher productivity using a novel hybrid ambient temperature method using polymer, protein and polymer/protein solutions. This technique yielded nanofibres at ~6kg/hour and this is at the upper bound of the current production methods. The fibre diameter can be very effectively controlled by the process control parameters. A wide variety of polymers was used to form fibres through this technique. The effect of polymer concentration and solvent on the fibre diameter and distribution was studied. The main processing parameters also have a distinct effect on the aspect ratio of the fibres (length/diameter). Processing multi-functional fibres by incorporating other materials such as copper oxide and bioactive substances was also achieved by simple addition of these constituents to the polymer solution.
Authors: S. Mahalingam and M.J. Edirisinghe
Keywords: Polymer, Nanofibers, Nanoparticles, Pressure, Gyration, Bacteria