Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Cotton candy inspired device easily spins nanofibers

Cotton candy inspired device easily spins nanofibers

26
May '10
Hailed as a “cross between a high-speed centrifuge and a cotton candy machine,” bioengineers at Harvard have developed a new, practical technology for fabricating tiny nanofibers.

The reference by lead author Mohammad Reza Badrossamay to the fairground treat of spun sugar is deliberate, as the device literally—and just as easily—spins, stretches, and pushes out 100 nanometer-diameter polymer-based threads using a rotating drum and nozzle.

“This is a vastly superior method to making nanofibers as compared to typical methods, with production output many times greater,” says co-author Kit Parker, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Applied Science and Associate Professor of Bioengineering in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS); a core faculty member of the Wyss Institue for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard; and member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

“Our technique will be highly desirable to industry, as the simple machines could easily bring nanofiber production into any laboratory. In effect, with this technique we can mainstream nanotextiles.” By contrast, the most common method of creating nanofibers is through electrospinning, or sending a high voltage electric change into a droplet of polymer liquid to draw out long wisps of nanoscale threads. While effective, electrospinning offers limited control and low output of the desired fibers.

The Harvard researchers turned to a simpler solution, using rotary jet spinning. Quickly feeding and then rotating the polymer material inside a reservoir atop a controllable motor offers more control and greater yield.

When spun, the material stretches much like molten sugar does as it begins to dry into thin, silky ribbons. Just as in cotton candy production, the nanofibers are extruded through a nozzle by a combination of hydrostatic and centrifugal pressure. The resulting pile of extruded fibers form into a bagel like shape about 10 cm in diameter. “The new system offers fabrication of naturally occurring and synthetic polymers as well as a lot of control over fiber alignment and web porosity, hierarchical and spatial organization of fibrous scaffold and three-dimensional assemblies,” says Badrossamay, a postdoctoral fellow in the Wyss Institute and member of Parker's lab at SEAS.

The researchers tested the new device using a variety of synthetic and natural polymers such as polylactic acid in chloroform, a biodegradable polymer created from corn starch or sugarcane that has been used as eco-friendly alternative to plastic in items like disposable cups.

Moreover, the rapid spinning method provides a high degree of flexibility as the diameter of the fibers can be readily manipulated and the structures can be integrated into an aligned three-dimensional structure or any shape simply by varying how the fibers are collected. The shape of the fibers can also be altered, ranging from beaded to textured to smooth.


Must ReadView All

Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 4th Apr 2020

Textile-garment, retail sectors bear enduring pandemic

Extended store closures, many factories halting operations due to...

Pic: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Textiles | On 4th Apr 2020

World Bank Group launches 1st operations for COVID-19

The World Bank’s board of executive directors yesterday approved a...

Pic: Shutterstock

Apparel/Garments | On 4th Apr 2020

Haiti making masks to fight COVID-19 pandemic

To keep its textile industry afloat amid the economic shutdown...

Interviews View All

Textile industry, Head honchos

Textile industry
Head honchos

Quality should be the #1 priority

Poojaa Kumar Deepak, Zeven

Poojaa Kumar Deepak
Zeven

Zeven's performance sports apparel is designed for the Indian body type,...

Amit Jain, Shingora Textiles Ltd

Amit Jain
Shingora Textiles Ltd

‘In terms of fabric, the fastest growing category for us is a blend of...

John Kelley,

John Kelley

Textile Events is one of the largest textile fair in the United Kingdom,...

Erwin Devloo,

Erwin Devloo

Picanol develops, produces and markets high-tech weaving machines, based...

Anupam Arya,

Anupam Arya

<div>Jaipur-based Fabriclore Retailing Pvt. Ltd. is attempting to revive...

Karl Zelik, Vanderbilt University

Karl Zelik
Vanderbilt University

A team of engineers at the Vanderbilt University has designed a smart...

Dave Rousse, INDA

Dave Rousse
INDA

INDA, a global association of the nonwoven fabrics industry, has been...

Kevin Nelson, TissueGen

Kevin Nelson
TissueGen

Kevin Nelson, Chief Scientific Officer, TissueGen discusses the growing...

Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rajesh Pratap Singh

Rajesh Pratap Singh
Rajesh Pratap Singh

<div>Ace fashion designer <b>Rajesh Pratap Singh</b> has used Tencel to...

Igor Chapurin, Chapurin

Igor Chapurin
Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Rupa Sood and Sharan Apparao, Nayaab

Rupa Sood and Sharan Apparao
Nayaab

Nayaab, an exhibition meant to celebrate Indian weaves, is in its second...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

Leave your Comments


March 2020

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.


Advanced Search