Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NC State researchers create 'nanofiber gusher'

19.03.2015

Report method of fabricating larger amounts of nanofibers in liquid

Creating large amounts of polymer nanofibers dispersed in liquid is a challenge that has vexed researchers for years. But engineers and researchers at North Carolina State University and one of its start-up companies have now reported a method that can produce unprecedented amounts of polymer nanofibers, which have potential applications in filtration, batteries and cell scaffolding.


NC State researchers use shearing method to create polymer nanofibers in liquid.

Photo courtesy of Orlin Velev, NC State University

In a paper published online in Advanced Materials, the NC State researchers and colleagues from industry, including NC State start-up company Xanofi, describe the method that allows them to fabricate polymer nanofibers on a massive scale.

The method - fine-tuned after nearly a decade of increasing success in producing micro- and nanoparticles of different shapes - works as simply as dropping liquid solution of a polymer in a beaker containing a spinning cylinder. Glycerin - a common and safe liquid that has many uses - is used to shear the polymer solution inside the beaker along with an antisolvent like water. When you take out the rotating cylinder, says Dr. Orlin Velev, Invista Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State and the corresponding author of the paper describing the research, you find a mat of nanofibers wrapped around it.

When they first started investigating the liquid shearing process, the researchers created polymer microrods, which could have various useful applications in foams and consumer products. "However, while investigating the shear process we came up with something strange. We discovered that these rods were really just pieces of 'broken' fibers," Velev said. "We didn't quite have the conditions set perfectly at that time. If you get the conditions right, the fibers don't break."

NC State patented the liquid shear process in 2006 and in a series of subsequent patents while Velev and his colleagues continued to work to perfect the process and its outcome. First, they created microfibers and nanoribbons as they investigated the process. "Microfibers, nanorods and nanoribbons are interesting and potentially useful, but you really want nanofibers," Velev said. "We achieved this during the scaling up and commercialization of the technology."

Velev engaged with NC State's Office of Technology Transfer and the university's TEC (The Entrepreneurship Collaborative) program to commercialize the discoveries. They worked with the experienced entrepreneur Miles Wright to start a company called Xanofi to advance the quest for nanofibers and the most efficient way to make mass quantities of them.

"We can now create kilograms of nanofibers per hour using this simple continuous flow process, which when scaled up becomes a 'nanofiber gusher,'" Velev said. "Depending on the concentrations of liquids, polymers and antisolvents, you can create multiple types of nanomaterials of different shapes and sizes."

"Large quantities are paramount in nanomanufacturing, so anything scalable is important," said Wright, the CEO of Xanofi and a co-author on the paper. "When we produce the nanofibers via continuous flow, we get exactly the same nanofibers you would get if you were producing small quantities of them. The fabrication of these materials in liquid is advantageous because you can create truly three-dimensional nanofiber substrates with very, very high overall surface area. This leads to many enhanced products ranging from filters to cell scaffolds, printable bioinks, battery separators, plus many more."

###

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation's Accelerating Innovation Research program. NC State's researchers Stoyan Smoukov, Tian Tian and Eunkyoung Shim co-authored the paper, as did Narendiran Vitchuli, Sumit Gangwal, Miles Wright and Pete Geisen from Xanofi Inc.; Manuel Marquez from Ynano Llc.; and Jeffrey Fowler from Syngenta Co.

Note to editors: An abstract of the paper follows.

"Scalable Liquid Shear-Driven Fabrication of Polymer Nanofibers"

Authors: Stoyan Smoukov, Tian Tian, Eunkyoung Shim and Orlin Velev, North Carolina State University; Narendiran Vitchuli, Sumit Gangwal, Miles Wright and Pete Geisen, Xanofi Inc.; Manuel Marquez, Ynano Llc.; and Jeffrey Fowler, Syngenta Co.

Published: March 18, 2015, online in Advanced Materials

DOI: 10.1002/adma.201404616

Abstract: A simple process for batch or continuous formation of polymer nanofibers and other nanomaterials in the bulk of a sheared fluid medium is introduced. The process could be of high value to commercial nanotechnology as it can be easily scaled up to the fabrication of staple nanofibers at rates that could exceed tens of kilograms per hour.

Media Contact

Dr. Orlin Velev
odvelev@ncsu.edu
919-513-4318

 @NCStateNews

http://www.ncsu.edu 

Dr. Orlin Velev | EurekAlert!

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Graphene origami as a mechanically tunable plasmonic structure for infrared detection
25.04.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Scientists create innovative new 'green' concrete using graphene
24.04.2018 | University of Exeter

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dispute about the origins of terahertz photoresponse in graphene results in a draw

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Graphene origami as a mechanically tunable plasmonic structure for infrared detection

25.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed

25.04.2018 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>