Unveiling the mechanism of the in situ formation of 3D fibre macroassemblies with controlled properties

An illustration of solution modification and Dd electrospinning juxtaposed with a graph plotting electrical conductivity by solution viscosity

In this paper, published in ACS Nano*, Dr Shiling Dong, Dr Barbara Maciejewska and colleagues from this department, the Department of Engineering and WAE Technologies Limited consider the electrospinning technique. 


Electrospinning is a well-known technique for the generation of different fibres, but while it is a 'simple' technique, the fibres produced are typically in the form of densely packed 2D mats with limited thickness, shape and porosity.  The highly demanded 3D fibre assemblies have previously been explored by time-consuming postprocessing and/or complex setup modifications.  In this paper, however, the team used a classic electrospinning set-up to directly produce 3D fibre macrostructures only by modulating the spinning solution.  Increasing solution conductivity modified electrodynamic jet behaviour and fibre assembling processes, and both were observed in situ using a high-speed camera.  

More viscous solutions rendered thicker fibres that owned enhanced mechanical stiffness, as examined by finite element analysis.  In this paper the authors reveal the correlation between the universal solution parameters and the dimensionality of fibre assemblies, which enlighten the design of more '3D spinnable' solutions which are compatible with any commercial electrospinning equipment.


After a calcination step, ultralightweight ceramic fibre assemblies were generated.  These inexpensive materials can clean up exceptionally large fractions of oil spillages and provide high-performance thermal insulation.  


* 'Unveiling the Mechanism of the in situ Formation of 3D Fiber Macroassemblies with Controlled Properties'.