Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Waste fiber can be recycled into valuable products using new technique of electrospinning, Cornell researchers report

11.09.2003


It may soon be possible to produce a low cost, high-value, high-strength fiber from a biodegradable and renewable waste product for air filtration, water filtration and agricultural nanotechnology, report polymer scientists at Cornell University. The achievement is the result of using the recently perfected technique of electrospinning to spin nanofibers from cellulose.

"Cellulose is the most abundant renewable resource polymer on earth. It forms the structure of all plants," says Margaret Frey, an assistant professor of textiles and apparel at Cornell. "Although researchers have predicted that fibers with strength approaching Kevlar could be made from this fiber, no one has yet achieved this. We have developed some new solvents for cellulose, which have allowed us to produce fibers using the technique known as electrospinning."

Frey is collaborating on the research with Yong Joo, an assistant professor, and Choo-won Kim, a graduate student, both in chemical engineering at Cornell. Frey reports on the development Sept. 9 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New York City.



The technique of electrospinning cellulose on the nanoscale was successfully used for the first time a few months ago. It involves dissolving cellulose in a solvent, squeezing the liquid polymer solution through a tiny pinhole and applying a high voltage to the pinhole. (Nanoscale refers to measurements often at the molecular level; a nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or three times the diameter of a silicon atom.)

"The technique relies on electrical rather than mechanical forces to form fibers. Thus, special properties are required of polymer solutions for electrospinning, including the ability to carry electrical charges," says Frey.

The charge pulls the polymer solution through the air into a tiny fiber, which is collected on an electrical ground, explains Frey. "The fiber produced is less than 100 nanometers in diameter, which is 1,000 times smaller than in conventional spinning," she says. The new technique is now possible because of a new group of solvents that can dissolve cellulose, Frey says. The Cornell researchers currently are using experimental solvents to find one that will produce fibers with superior properties.

Whenever cotton is converted to fabric and garments, fiber (cellulose) is lost to scrap or waste. At present it is largely discarded or used for low-value products, such as cotton balls, yarns and cotton batting.

"Producing a high-performance material from reclaimed cellulose material will increase motivation to recycle these materials at all phases of textile production and remove them from the waste stream," notes Frey. She says that electrospinning typically produces nonwoven mats of nanofibers, which could provide nanoscale pores for industrial filters.

"Producing ultra-small diameter fibers from cellulose could have a wide variety of applications that would exploit the enormous surface area of nonwoven mats of nanofibers and the possibility of controlling the molecular orientation and crystalline structures of nanoscale fibers," says Frey. If successful, possible applications might include air filtration, protective clothing, agricultural nanotechnology and biodegradable nanocomposites.

"Another application we foresee is using the biodegradable electrospun cellulose mats to absorb fertilizers, pesticides and other materials. These materials would then release the materials at a desired time and location, allowing targeted application," says Joo.

While Frey’s group prepared the novel solvents for cellulose, Joo’s group conducted the electrospinning studies.

Frey notes that the United States produces 20 million 480-pound bales of fiber a year; world annual production is 98 million bales. At every step in the process of converting harvested cotton to fabric and garments, some fiber is lost to scrap or waste, Frey says. In opening and cleaning, for example, 4 to 8 percent of the fiber is lost; up to 1 percent is lost during drawing and roving; and up to 20 percent during combing and yarn production.

The research is supported by the New York State College of Human Ecology at Cornell.

Susan S. Lang | Cornell News
Further information:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Sept03/electrospinning.ACS.ssl.html
http://www.human.cornell.edu/faculty/facultybio.cfm?netid=mfw24&facs=1
http://www.cheme.cornell.edu/peopleevents/faculty/joo/

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds
27.02.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht Let it glow
27.02.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>