WHAT IS ELECTROSPINNING?
Electrospinning is a simple and scalable voltage-driven process for the fabrication of nano- or micro-structured fibers from polymers, proteins or inorganic materials. Spinbox uses the same needle-based electrospinning process as Bioinicia’s larger-scale equipment, meaning that lab-scale developments can be scaled-up with minimal effort.
Figure 1. Electrospinning process
The setup of a basic electrospinning process in its simplest form, the process involves:
- A droplet of polymer solution is maintained at the tip of a capillary needle “emitter”, using a syringe pump.
- High voltage is applied to the emitter creating an electrostatic field between the emitter and a grounded or negatively charged collector.
- Electrostatic forces induced within the solution start to overcome the surface tension holding the solution droplet at the tip of the needle and the droplet changes shape into a Taylor Cone.
- Above a critical voltage, these forces cause a highly charged jet of solution to be expelled from the tip of the Taylor Cone and accelerated towards the collector.
- As it passes through the electrostatic field, the charged jet undergoes high-speed whipping and stretching motions and the solvent evaporates.
- Dry fiber is deposited on the collector in the form of randomly oriented non-woven, or aligned fiber depending on the collector geometry.
This process is simple, cost-efficient and highly versatile; allowing for a wide variety of materials to be processed with excellent control over fiber diameter and morphology. By changing the collector geometry, it is possible to collect non-woven membranes, aligned fiber mats or bundles, tubular structures or more complex 3D shapes.