Electrospinning Nozzle

STFC has developed a novel electrospinning process that allows for the parallel production of very fine multicore nanofibres and/ or particles of diameter between 3-1000 nm. A multitude of concentric ducts enable the layering of the fibres with various immiscible fluids at varying thickness. The structures thus produced in a wide range fields from clinical scaffolds, nanofibre mats for particulate filtration, immobilization in bioprocesses, etc. STFC invites commercial and technical partners to help take the technology to market.

 

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DESCRIPTION

The electrospinning process is a particularly versatile process for the production of nanofibres. The present setup allows a plurality of ducts arranged for supplying a plurality of fluids that may be used in the formation of the fluid jet. The ducts may have flow cross section with dimensions less than 0.5 mm, such as up to hundreds of microns.

The setup comprises usually of a nozzle which includes within it one or more ducts through which fluid flows to form a Taylor cone. An electric field is applied between the nozzle and a collector on to which the produced fibres fall. The setup may also be arranged to have multiple nozzles to allow for parallel production of fibres.

The ducts are usually positioned in a concentric fashion in order to produce fibres having multiple layers of different fluids. This allows production of complex fibres having a core-multishell structure. The nozzle may also be used to form multicore spherical particles.

 

INNOVATIONS

  • The nozzle has multiple ducts for supplying fluids that are utilized in formation of a fluid jet, where each duct is passed into aperture.

  • The aperture of a duct is concentric to another aperture of another duct, where the nozzle is arranged on a substrate.

  • Walls bound the apertures, where the walls protrude from a surface of the substrate. The ducts extend through to another surface of the substrate.

 

ADVANTAGES

  • The nozzle can utilize fluid sheath, thus preventing rapid evaporation of volatile solvent until fluid is moved away from the nozzle, and hence preventing blockages occurring in the nozzle.

  • The nozzle can utilize hydrophobic coatings, thus preventing outer parts of the nozzle from wetting and causing unstable Taylor cone formation.

  • The nozzles are manufactured from silicon on a silicon substrate, so that the nozzles can be packed as arrays in convenient manner.

 

DOMAIN OF APPLICATION

  • 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.

  • The use of a nozzle from a silicon substrate opens up a number of manufacturing techniques proven by the microchip industry which may be useful in enabling the scale up of nanofibre production using electrospinning.

 

Patent Information:
Country Serial No.
United States 13/262177
European Patent Office 10723254.8
China 201080023700.2
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.d. Chemical Tech. & Engg.
04.a. Energy storage and transport
06.b. Biology/Biotechnology
06.d. Micro- & Nanotech. (bioscience)