Mar 4, 2022

Improving Needleless Electrospinning Throughput by Tailoring Polyurethane Solution Properties with Polysiloxane Additives

Kamran Iranshahi, Jean Schoeller, Nicolas Luisier, Michael Chung, Sina Hashemi Zadeh, Giuseppino Fortunato, Thijs Defraeye, and Rene Rossi, ACS Applied Polymer Materials, Volume 04, Issue 03, pp. 2205–2215, online: 01 March 2022; doi: 10.1021/acsapm.2c00263

Within the manufacturing industry, production velocity plays a key role with respect to economic turn-over rates. This issue is often a pivotal factor in the incorporation of developing technologies. For electrostatic spinning, which is based on the formation of nanoscopic fibrous elements and relatively low fiber throughput values, an increase is highly desirable for application at both laboratory and industrial scales. In this paper, we conducted a joint experimental-theoretical study to explore the impact of the solution properties on improving the electrospinning throughput. The needleless electrospinning process was selected due to its increased production rate and higher potential for upscaling compared to other electrospinning approaches. Polyurethane (PUR) solutions including polysiloxane additives were used as spinning solutions. We show that additives, such as polydimethylsiloxane hydroxide (PDMS-OH), that decrease the solution surface tension and increase the solution viscosity can significantly improve the production rate of nanofibrous scaffolds. As such, the use of additives is beneficial for high throughput, since surface tension, viscosity, and relative permittivity can be tailored to increase the electrospinning throughput.

The scientific and technical impact of the study can be summarized as:

  • Mathematical models and computational simulations were used to explore the underlying physics of PUR electrospinning
  • The spinning throughput was enhanced by tailoring spinning solution properties such as concentration, conductivity, surface tension, and relative permittivity while keeping the spinning parameter constant
  • Of all properties studied, surface tension and viscosity contributed most significantly to improved electrospinning throughput
  • PDMS-based additives increase the electrospinning rate by decreasing the surface tension – thus easing jet formation and increasing the viscosity – leading to greater jet stability and lifetime