The fibre generator shape and dimension are key factors affecting the needleless electrospinning process and fibre fineness. In this work, cylinder with rounded rim, disc and ball were used as spinnerets to electrospin polyvinyl alcohol and polyacrylonitrile solutions. A finite element method was used to analyse how the spinneret geometry affected the electric field generated during electrospinning and the associated changes in fibre diameter and productivity. For cylinder spinnerets, increasing the rim radius reduced the discrepancy of electric field intensity between the cylinder end and middle area, which affected the fibre productivity. The electrospinning failed to operate when the rim radius was over 20 mm. With decreasing cylinder diameter, the electric field intensity in the middle area increased, improving the fibre productivity. Thinner disc spinnerets increased the electric field intensity, resulting in finer nanofibres and higher productivities. Ball spinnerets produced evenly distributed electric field, but failed to electrospin fibres when the diameters were below 60 mm. It has been found that strong and narrowly distributed electric field in the fibre-generating area can significantly facilitate the mass production of quality nanofibres.
Field of Research
100707 Nanomanufacturing 091205 Functional Materials 091209 Polymers and Plastics