2014 journal article
Control of the electric field-polymer solution interaction by utilizing ultra-conductive fluids
POLYMER, 55(24), 6390–6398.
Dramatically raising the conductivity of a polymer solution by using a salt additive allows control over the electric field-induced jet feed rate when electrospinning from an unconfined fluid without altering the applied voltage. As the solution conductivity increases, the flow rate drops by an order of magnitude. At a high voltage level and fluid conductivity value, the jets undergo a whipping instability over almost the entire path from the source to the collector experiencing only a negligibly short linear region which, along with the flow rate data, indicates that the jet narrows due to the high conductivity. Under these conditions, even while possessing relatively large individual jet feed rates, thin diameter nanofibers (200 e300 nm) are readily produced. In contrast with other approaches to obtain narrow fibers from unconfined fluids (e.g., voltage reduction to control feed rate), here the fiber forming jets are present indefinitely. Continuous, scaled up nanofiber production rate of >125� over the traditional single needle electrospinning method is observed from the presence of multiple jets, each possessing a relatively high solution feed rate. These fundamental experiments reveal new pathways for exploring novel electrospinning configurations where the jet feed rate can be controlled by manipulating the solution conductivity.