KAIST researchers have developed a novel nanofiber manufacturing approach referred to as ‘centrifugal multispinning’ that can open the door for the secure and cost-effective mass manufacturing of high-performance polymer nanofibers. This new approach, which has proven as much as a 300 occasions greater nanofiber manufacturing price per hour than that of the traditional electrospinning methodology, has many potential functions together with the event of face masks filters for coronavirus safety.
Nanofibers make good face masks filters as a result of their mechanical interactions with aerosol particles give them a higher means to seize greater than 90% of dangerous particles comparable to advantageous mud and virus-containing droplets.
The affect of the COVID-19 pandemic has additional accelerated the rising demand in recent times for a greater sort of face masks. A polymer nanofiber-based masks filter that may extra successfully block dangerous particles has additionally been in greater demand because the pandemic continues.
‘Electrospinning’ has been a typical course of used to organize advantageous and uniform polymer nanofibers, however when it comes to security, cost-effectiveness, and mass manufacturing, it has a number of drawbacks. The electrospinning methodology requires a high-voltage electrical area and electrically conductive goal, and this hinders the secure and cost-effective mass manufacturing of polymer nanofibers.
In response to this shortcoming, ‘centrifugal spinning’ that makes use of centrifugal drive as a substitute of excessive voltage to supply polymer nanofibers has been recommended as a safer and less expensive various to the electrospinning. Straightforward scalability is one other benefit, as this expertise solely requires a rotating spinneret and a collector.
Nevertheless, for the reason that present centrifugal force-based spinning expertise employs solely a single rotating spinneret, productiveness is restricted and never a lot greater than that of some superior electrospinning applied sciences comparable to ‘multi-nozzle electrospinning’ and ‘nozzleless electrospinning.’ This drawback persists even when the scale of the spinneret is elevated.
Impressed by these limitations, a analysis staff led by Professor Do Hyun Kim from the Division of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST developed a centrifugal multispinning spinneret with mass-producibility, by sectioning a rotating spinneret into three sub-disks. This research was printed as a entrance cowl article of ACS Macro Letters, Quantity 10, Concern 3 in March 2021.
Utilizing this new centrifugal multispinning spinneret with three sub-disks, the lead creator of the paper PhD candidate Byeong Eun Kwak and his fellow researchers Hyo Jeong Yoo and Eungjun Lee demonstrated the gram-scale manufacturing of varied polymer nanofibers with a most manufacturing price of as much as 25 grams per hour, which is roughly 300 occasions greater than that of the traditional electrospinning system. The manufacturing price of as much as 25 grams of polymer nanofibers per hour corresponds to the manufacturing price of about 30 face masks filters per day in a lab-scale manufacturing system.
By integrating the mass-produced polymer nanofibers into the type of a masks filter, the researchers have been in a position to fabricate face masks which have comparable filtration efficiency with the KF80 and KF94 face masks which are at present out there within the Korean market. The KF80 and KF94 masks have been authorized by the Ministry of Meals and Drug Security of Korea to filter out no less than 80% and 94% of dangerous particles respectively.
“When our system is scaled up from the lab scale to an industrial scale, the large-scale manufacturing of centrifugal multispun polymer nanofibers shall be made doable, and the price of polymer nanofiber-based face masks filters may even be lowered dramatically,” Kwak defined.
Reference: “Giant-Scale Centrifugal Multispinning Manufacturing of Polymer Micro- and Nanofibers for Masks Filter Utility with a Potential of Cospinning Blended Multicomponent Fibers” by Byeong Eun Kwak, Hyo Jeong Yoo, Eungjun Lee and Do Hyun Kim, 17 February 2021, ACS Macro Letters.
This work was supported by the KAIST-funded World Singularity Analysis Program for 2020.