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Aligned Electrospun Nanocomposite Fibers

S.R. Nartker, M. Misra and L.T. Drzal
Research Assistant, US

Keywords:
electrospun, nanofiber, nanocomposite, aligned, silica, PVA

Abstract:
Electrospun fibers have been used in various applications including filtration media, biomedical, ceramics and composites. Electrospinning uses an electric field to draw a polymer solution jet from the tip of a capillary to a collector resulting in a dried polymeric fiber. The polymeric solution being used in this research is 10 wt% poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) in water, which was prepared by vigorous mixing and constant heating at 90 deg C for 12 hours. The nanocomposite solution has been prepared by addition of 10 wt% of fumed silica nanoparticles to the above PVA solution. The driving force of the jet is provided by a high voltage source. A total of 8 kV was applied over a distance of 11 cm to produce uniform fibers. A syringe pump rate of 0.1 ml/hr through a 20 gauge needle tip has been employed. Alignment is essential for developing nanocomposite fibers for multi-functional applications. Morphological studies have been performed using an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Image analysis of typical electrospun samples have shown that at least 90 % of the fibers are aligned within 10 degrees and the diameters range from 200 to 250 nm.

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