Electrospinning Scale-Up

STFC has a developed a high throughput manufacturing process for its previously patented electrospinning technology. This method addresses the need for an industrial scale electrospinning source with the ability to change the molecular content of the nanofibres with minimal time delay. 

 

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DESCRIPTION

 

Electrospray is a technique for dispersing a liquid to produce an electrically charged aerosol. In this technique, a liquid is supplied through a capillary and a high voltage is applied to the tip of the capillary. A plate is provided which is biased at a different potential with respect to the tip. The relatively high potential at the tip of the capillary results in the formation of a Taylor cone. A liquid jet is emitted through the apex of the cone. In order to scale-up the process, a system has been developed which is modular in design so as to allow electrospinning and electrospray processes to be carried out simultaneously by arranging modules in an array.

 

It is a simple two roller system with a continuous single conveyor belt which is set to produce large volumes of nanofibres.  The basic single conveyor system consists of the following principal components - two precision rollers, a belt, a drive mechanism, an electrical contact to the belt or roller, an immersion bath and a support frame to tension the belt between the rollers. The surface of the belt can be textured in such a way as to control fluid transport from the wetting zone to the electrospray zone. The belt also has high aspect ratio features on a large pitch to enhance the electrical field on the surface of the belt whilst in the electrospray zone, which will enhance Taylor cone formation.  The frame work which holds the bath, roller and drive mechanism is engineered to allow the conveyor to be dismantled and cleaned. 

 

DOMAIN OF APPLICATION

 

  • Storage of hydrogen: By providing a hydride core fluid such as ammonia borane and a polymer shell fluid, hydrogen may be stored in the fibre. The shell would be permeable to hydrogen but not to borazine and borazine type compounds.
  • Pharmaceutical applications: A pharmaceutical drug may be used as the core fluid with a polymer shell. This can be extended to a wound dressing with a pharmaceutical drug release fibre.
  • By reducing the viscosity of the shell fluid, electrospraying of vesicles with porous shell is possible. Such products could find many applications in immobilised enzymes, stationary phase for HPLC and other chromatography systems, electroplating, etc.
Patent Information:
Country Serial No.
United Kingdom 0813601.2
For Information, Contact:
Elizabeth Bain
IP Manager
STFC Innovations
+44 (0) 1925 60 3680
elizabeth.bain@stfc.ac.uk
Keywords:
02.b. Industrial Manufacture
02.g. Materials Technology
03.b. Process Plant Engineering
03.d. Chemical Tech. & Engg.
04.a. Energy storage and transport
05.b. Chemistry
05.k. Nanotech. (physical science)
06.b. Biology/Biotechnology
06.d. Micro- & Nanotech. (bioscience)