Glossary term


The electrospinning method allows the preparation of very fine fibers ranging from um to nm from a polymer solution or a polymer melt using electrostatic and capillary forces. The concept is based on an electrostatic field, generated by a high voltage source, in which an electrically charged current is formed in the polymer solution or melt. During the flight phase of the polymeric material, this current is stretched enormously and an ultrafine fibre is formed. In the case of polymer solutions, solvent evaporation still occurs as the fiber is stretched. The fiber stream is collected on a backing layer which prevents the fiber from falling onto the opposite electrode. Both natural and synthetic polymers can be softened using this method. The fibres produced in this manner are characterised particularly by their high specific surface area and other distinctive properties. The use of nanofibres or electrostatic softening techniques can be found in many different areas of application. For example, in biomedicine in tissue engineering, as a covering and dressing material, in pharmaceutics for drug delivery, in cosmetics and quite importantly the filtration of fluids such as air and water from microorganisms. Furthermore, it can be used in automotive fields, aerospace, the construction industry for its sound absorbing properties and many other applications.