A review on electrospinning design and nanofibre assemblies
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INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS PUBLISHING Nanotechnology 17 (2006) R89–R106
A review on electrospinning design and nanoﬁbre assemblies W E Teo1 and S Ramakrishna1,2,3,4
1 Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576, Singapore 2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576, Singapore 3 Division of Bioengineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576, Singapore
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Received 5 April 2006 Published 30 June 2006 Online at stacks.iop.org/Nano/17/R89 Abstract Although there are many methods of fabricating nanoﬁbres, electrospinning is perhaps the most versatile process. Materials such as polymer, composites, ceramic and metal nanoﬁbres have been fabricated using electrospinning directly or through post-spinning processes. However, what makes electrospinning different from other nanoﬁbre fabrication processes is its ability to form various ﬁbre assemblies. This will certainly enhance the performance of products made from nanoﬁbres and allow application speciﬁc modiﬁcations. It is therefore vital for us to understand the various parameters and processes that allow us to fabricate the desired ﬁbre assemblies. Fibre assemblies that can be fabricated include nonwoven ﬁbre mesh, aligned ﬁbre mesh, patterned ﬁbre mesh, random three-dimensional structures and sub-micron spring and convoluted ﬁbres. Nevertheless, more studies are required to understand and precisely control the actual mechanics in the formation of various electrospun ﬁbrous assemblies. (Some ﬁgures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version)
Since the beginning of this century, researchers all over the world have been re-looking at a century old process (Cooley 1902, Morton 1902) currently known as electrospinning. Probably unknown to most researchers for most of the last century, electrospinning is able to produce continuous ﬁbres from the submicron diameter down to the nanometre diameter. It was not until the mid-1990s with interest in the ﬁeld of nanoscience and nanotechnology that researchers started to realize the huge potential of the process in nanoﬁbre production (Doshi and Reneker 1995). Nanoﬁbres and nanowires with their huge surface area to volume ratio, about a thousand times higher than that of a human hair, have 4 Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed.
the potential to signiﬁcantly improve current technology and ﬁnd application in new areas. Applications for nanoﬁbres include nanocatalysis, tissue scaffolds (Wang et al 2005b, Li et al 2002), protective clothing, ﬁltration and nano-electronics (Ramakrishna et al 2005). Although there are other methods of fabricating nanoﬁbres such as phase separation (Witte et al 1996) and template synthesis (Chakarvarti and Vetter 1998), few, if any, can match electrospinning in terms of its versatility, ﬂexibility and ease of ﬁbre production. At a laboratory level, a typical electrospinning set-up only requires a high voltage power supply (up to 30 kV), a syringe, a ﬂat tip needle and a conducting collector. In terms of the ﬂexibility of the process, electrospinning is able to fabricate continuous nanoﬁbres from a huge range of materials. Of...
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