Electrospinning, an overview

Electrospinning technique was first reported by the Noble Prize John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, in 1897, who observed the effect that electric charge had on water jets [1]. It was studied deeper by Zeleny and patented by Formhals in 1934, who presented a setting for the fabrication of textile fibers using a voltage of 57 kV to launch cellulose acetate solved in acetone and 2-methoxyethanol [2]. The term «electrospinning» has been used since recent years as an apocope of «electrostatic spinning». Electrospinning technique consists on the deposition of fibers on a substrate through the application of a high voltage between a polymer solution and the sample. The polymer solution, usually disposed inside a syringe with a specific needle gauge, forms a jet driven by the electrostatic potential and is deposited on the substrate, that is connected to 0 potential (ground). The thickness of the resulting fibers, unlike those obtained by conventional techniques such wet spinning, dry spinning…, can vary from the micrometer to a few nanometers [3]. The thickness depends on some variables that must be precisely controlled in order to obtain a satisfactory coating.

The most important factors of the electrospinning process are the nature and viscosity of the solution, the applied voltage, the collector distance, the flow rate, the syringe gauge and the time of deposition. Rotatory collectors are also used to obtain coherent fiber directions.

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Image: Delv0n2/Wikimedia Commons By Delv0n2 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19474487

[1] Sánchez, L.M.D., L. Rodriguez, and M. López, Electrospinning: la era de las nanofibras. Revista Iberoamericana de Polímeros, 2013. 14(1): p. 10-27.

[2] Bhardwaj, N. and S.C. Kundu, Electrospinning: A fascinating fiber fabrication technique. Biotechnology Advances, 2010. 28(3): p. 325-347.

[3] Frenot, A. and I.S. Chronakis, Polymer nanofibers assembled by electrospinning. Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science, 2003. 8(1): p. 64-75.

© Nadetech Innovations 2017

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