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Nanofibers are defined as fibers with diameters less than 100 nanometers. In the textile industry, this definition is often extended to include fibers as large as 1000 nm diameter. They can be produced by interfacial polymerization, electrospinning, and Forcespinning®. Carbon nanofibers are graphitized fibers produced by catalytic synthesis.
Accomplishments relating to Electrospinning
Continuous production of electrospun nanofibers webs with high efficiency and discontinuous production of nanofiber webs from very small amount of liquid (one droplet) for very expensive polymers usage.
Traditional and untraditional cross-linking of electrospun nanofibers webs.
Production of bicomponent nanofibers, mainly for drug delivery systems usage.
Production of pattern, aligned and three-dimensional nanofibrous nanofibers.
Coaxial electrospinning - needle electrospinning.
Needle-less electrospinning (weir spinner).
Production of composite materials consisting of electrospun layers with incorporated powder between nanofibers or inside nanofibers.
Production of hybrid yarns - classical base yarn covered by electrospun nanofibers and protective.
Inorganic nanofibers (sometimes called ceramic nanofibers) can be prepared from various kinds of inorganic substances by electrospinning technique. The most frequently mentioned ceramic materials with nanofiber morphology are titanium dioxide (TiO2), silicon dioxide (SiO2), zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), lithium titanate (Li4Ti5O12), titanium nitride (TiN) or platinum (Pt). The synthesis usually consists of two main steps. In the first step, the polymer (organic) nanofibers are created by conventional electrospinning technique. As prepared, polymer nanofibers made of inorganic salts or organometallic compounds are subsequently transformed to ceramics by heat treatment. Other production methods include direct drawing from a solution or melt and "island in the sea".
Nanofibers have applications in medicine, including artificial organ components, tissue engineering, implant material, drug delivery, wound dressing, and medical textile materials. Recently, researchers have found that nanofiber meshes could be used to fight against the HIV-1 virus, and be able to be used as a contraception. In wound healing nanofibers assemble at the injury site and stay put, drawing the body's own growth factors to the injury site. Protective materials include sound absorption materials, protective clothings against chemical and biological warfare agents, and sensor applications for detecting chemical agents. Nanofibers have also been used in pigments for cosmetics.
Applications in the textile industry include sport apparel, sport shoes, climbing, rainwear, outerwear garments, baby diapers. Napkins with nanofibers contain antibodies against numerous biohazards and chemicals that signal by changing color (potentially useful in identifying bacteria in kitchens).
Filtration system applications include HVAC system filters, HEPA, ULPA filters, air, oil, fuel filters for automotive, filters for beverage, pharmacy, medical applications, filter media for new air and liquid filtration applications, such as vacuum cleaners.
Energy applications include Li-ion batteries, photovoltaic cells, membrane fuel cells, and dye-sensitized solar cells. Other applications are micropower to operate personal electronic devices via piezoelectric nanofibers woven into clothing, carrier materials for various catalysts, and photocatalytic air/water purification
Self-brading of nanofibers is related to a balance between flexibility, adhesion, and evaporation of solvent. Its potential applications include: substances that can change optical properties on demand, molecule capture and release for e.g. timed drug delivery, energy storage, and adhesives