(819b) Centrifugal Forcespinning for Manufacturing High Performance Fibers
Forcespinning is a new technology that utilizes centrifugal force to attenuate a polymer melt or solution into fine fibers. Centrifugal force is implemented by using a spinneret with orifices located around its periphery which rotates at 1,000-20,000 rpm. This method is different from existing fiber manufacturing technologies such as melt blowing or electrospinning which use hot air jets or electric fields, respectively, to draw fine fibers. In this study, nano- and micro-sized fibers were manufactured from poly(butylene terephthalate) (PBT), a high performance polymer due to its limited solubility in common solvents and high melting point. Fiber samples with up to 60% nanofibers were obtained where the average diameter could be controlled by adjusting the specific process conditions that were employed, such as spin speed and processing temperature. In general, the PBT fibers show good crystallinity and molecular orientation, which may also lead to enhanced mechanical properties. A collection of other high performance fiber materials will be described, including methods for producing both inorganic and crosslinked fibers in a single step without post processing modification.