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. 2019 Aug 1;11(8):1287.
doi: 10.3390/polym11081287.

The Relationships Between the Working Fluids, Process Characteristics and Products From the Modified Coaxial Electrospinning of Zein

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Free PMC article

The Relationships Between the Working Fluids, Process Characteristics and Products From the Modified Coaxial Electrospinning of Zein

Menglong Wang et al. Polymers (Basel). .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The accurate prediction and manipulation of nanoscale product sizes is a major challenge in material processing. In this investigation, two process characteristics were explored during the modified coaxial electrospinning of zein, with the aim of understanding how this impacts the products formed. The characteristics studied were the spreading angle at the unstable region (θ) and the length of the straight fluid jet (L). An electrospinnable zein core solution was prepared and processed with a sheath comprising ethanolic solutions of LiCl. The width of the zein nanoribbons formed (W) was found to be more closely correlated with the spreading angle and straight fluid jet length than with the experimental parameters (the electrolyte concentrations and conductivity of the shell fluids). Linear equations W = 546.44L - 666.04 and W = 2255.3θ - 22.7 could be developed with correlation coefficients of Rwl2 = 0.9845 and R2 = 0.9924, respectively. These highly linear relationships reveal that the process characteristics can be very useful tools for both predicting the quality of the electrospun products, and manipulating their sizes for functional applications. This arises because any changes in the experimental parameters would have an influence on both the process characteristics and the solid products' properties.

Keywords: coaxial electrospinning; length of straight fluid jet; linear relationship; nanoribbons; spreading angle.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
A diagram showing the single-fluid electrospinning process and the experimental parameters exerting influence on the diameters of the polymer nanofibers generated.
Figure 2
Figure 2
The modified coaxial electrospinning process, which permits a range of novel structures to be obtained through the unspinnable sheath fluid.
Figure 3
Figure 3
The apparatus used for modified coaxial electrospinning: (a) The home-made concentration spinneret; (b) the arrangement of apparatus; and (c) the connection of the power supply and working fluids with the spinneret.
Figure 4
Figure 4
The changes of spreading angle and the length of straight fluid jet with the increase of LiCl in the sheath solution (mg/mL): (a) 0; (b) 5; (c) 10; (d) 20.
Figure 5
Figure 5
SEM images of resultant zein nanoribbons, with their width distributions. (a) Z1; (b) Z2; (c) Z3; (d) Z4.
Figure 6
Figure 6
The influence of the sheath fluid conductivity on the behavior of the working fluids: (a) The relationship between LiCl concentration and solution conductivity; (b) the decrease in the length of the straight fluid jet with an increase of conductivity; (c) the increase of spreading angle with rising conductivity.
Figure 7
Figure 7
Correlations between the width of electrospun zein nanoribbons with: (a) The LiCl concentration; and (b) the conductivity of the sheath fluid.
Figure 8
Figure 8
The correlations between the width of electrospun zein nanoribbons and: (a) The length of the straight fluid jet; and (b) the spreading angle of the unstable zone.
Figure 9
Figure 9
A diagram showing the formation mechanism of electrospun nanoribbons through the modified coaxial electrospinning.

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