(397bl) Molecular Understanding of Electrospinning: Polymer Solutions in An External Field
Nanospider technologyTMis a method to produce nanofibers by electrospinning from the free surface of polymer solutions. The process runs only in a narrow window of conditions (strength of the electric field, composition of the solution, temperature, etc.) and the lack of understanding of the process at a molecular level means that its determination has been based so far on the trial-and-error approach only.
It will be shown how molecular simulations carried out on aqueous solutions of electrolytes in an external electric field can mimic the entire process. Specifically, development of the Taylor cones and the onset of spraying and jetting. Experimentally detected regular rippling of the electromagnetic field before the onset of spraying is explained and the crucial role of the presence of ions at the surface of the solution for the transition from spraying to jetting has been identified. Simulations make it possible to define molecular layers and determine the average molecular properties in individual layers.