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Solventless High Throughput Manufacturing of Poly(butylene terephthalate) Nanofibers

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journal contribution
posted on 21.08.2012, 00:00 authored by Kadhiravan Shanmuganathan, Yichen Fang, Daniel Y. Chou, Sarah Sparks, Jarett Hibbert, Christopher J. Ellison
Nanofibers possess high surface area to volume ratios and are particularly attractive for a variety of applications including tissue regeneration, drug delivery, fiber-reinforced composites, filtration, and protective clothing. Though the production of nanofibers from common thermoplastic polymers is relatively well-demonstrated, processing constraints have limited high throughput manufacturing of nanofibers from high performance polymers. This has in turn limited broad technological exploitation of polymer nanofibers in areas such as hot chemical filtration or high-performance lightweight composites for aerospace and defense applications. We report here that nanofibers can be produced in a solventless high throughput process from polymers such as poly­(butylene terephthalate) (PBT) using a newly developed technology termed “Forcespinning” that employs centrifugal force to attenuate fibers. Our investigations also show that these nanofibers have a high crystallinity and enhanced molecular orientation which is important for realizing desirable physical and chemical properties of many high-performance polymer fibers.

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