KAIST researchers have developed a novel nanofiber manufacturing method known as ‘centrifugal multispinning’ that can open the door for the protected and cost-effective mass manufacturing of high-performance polymer nanofibers. This new method, which has proven as much as a 300 instances increased nanofiber manufacturing fee 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 potential to seize greater than 90% of dangerous particles akin to positive mud and virus-containing droplets.
The impression of the COVID-19 pandemic has additional accelerated the rising demand lately for a greater form of face masks. A polymer nanofiber-based masks filter that may extra successfully block dangerous particles has additionally been in increased demand because the pandemic continues.
‘Electrospinning’ has been a typical course of used to organize positive 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 subject and electrically conductive goal, and this hinders the protected and cost-effective mass manufacturing of polymer nanofibers.
In response to this shortcoming, ‘centrifugal spinning’ that makes use of centrifugal power as an alternative of excessive voltage to supply polymer nanofibers has been prompt as a safer and less expensive different to the electrospinning. Straightforward scalability is one other benefit, as this know-how solely requires a rotating spinneret and a collector.
Nevertheless, because the current centrifugal force-based spinning know-how employs solely a single rotating spinneret, productiveness is proscribed and never a lot increased than that of some superior electrospinning applied sciences akin to ‘multi-nozzle electrospinning’ and ‘nozzleless electrospinning.’ This drawback persists even when the dimensions 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 examine was printed as a entrance cowl article of ACS Macro Letters, Quantity 10, Difficulty 3 in March 2021.
Utilizing this new centrifugal multispinning spinneret with three sub-disks, the lead writer of the paper PhD candidate Byeong Eun Kwak and his fellow researchers Hyo Jeong Yoo and Eungjun Lee demonstrated the gram-scale manufacturing of assorted polymer nanofibers with a most manufacturing fee of as much as 25 grams per hour, which is roughly 300 instances increased than that of the traditional electrospinning system. The manufacturing fee of as much as 25 grams of polymer nanofibers per hour corresponds to the manufacturing fee 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 had been capable of fabricate face masks which have comparable filtration efficiency with the KF80 and KF94 face masks which can be presently accessible within the Korean market. The KF80 and KF94 masks have been accredited by the Ministry of Meals and Drug Security of Korea to filter out a minimum of 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 can be made attainable, and the price of polymer nanofiber-based face masks filters may also 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 Combined 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.